British researchers have launched a major study into the effect of genetics and environment on autism, hoping to resolve controversies over the causes and definition of autism spectrum disorders.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has given a team from Bristol University £400,000 to study autism using data from the Children of the 90s study, a long-term project assessing the impact of environment and genes on the developing health of 14,000 children.

Lead researcher Jean Golding said the study should resolve once and for all the controversy over the alleged link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism that has rumbled on ever since Andrew Wakefield's famous Lancet paper and subsequent press conference in 1998.

In fact, the project is one of four into autism supported by the MRC from funds that were allocated to take forward recommendations of the 2001 MRC Review on Autism, which was...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?