ALLENTOWN, PA — A major expansion of the collaborative effort to identify genes linked to autism is about to start with a $6 million grant awarded by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The five-year grant will support the addition of about 300 families to the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) gene bank and enable genetic analysis of the newly deposited DNA samples.

"Within the five-year period, our goal is to identify autism susceptibility genes," explained Daniel Geschwind, co-principal investigator of the collaborative project that includes researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, in partnership with Cure Autism Now (CAN), the citizens group that created AGRE. Since being established nearly four years ago, AGRE has added about 400 autism families to its genetic repository, which is maintained by the NIMH Human Genetics Initiative....

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