Two large-scale genetic analyses have turned up a trio of new sites associated with autism, including a large-effect allele that seems to reduce the risk of developing the debilitating brain disorder, researchers reported today (Nov. 12) at the__ linkurl:American Society of Human Genetics__ meeting; in Philadelphia. Last year, the Autism Genome Project Consortium performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan to date with around 10,000 SNPs in 1,181 families with at least two affected individuals. The group flagged a handful of genomic regions harboring linkurl:autism; susceptibility genes, although none of the linkage results were statistically significant linkurl:(__Nat Genet__, 39:319-328, 2007).; Now, a team led by linkurl:Dan Arking,; a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, has ramped up the SNP count to include around 500,000 markers in 802 affected pairs of siblings. They then eliminated all the error-prone or uninformative SNPs to amass a collection of 180,000 high-quality markers for their analysis. "It's...

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