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;http://www.ashg.org/2008meeting/ 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;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/6/1/26/1/ susceptibility genes, although none of the linkage results were statistically significant linkurl:(__Nat Genet__, 39:319-328, 2007).;http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v39/n3/abs/ng1985.html Now, a team led by linkurl:Dan Arking,;http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/geneticmedicine/People/Faculty/Arking.html 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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