Early Germline (Sperm/ Egg) Mutations and the Heredibility of Autism

Published October 5, 2015

If you missed the October 1st webinar on Early Germline (sperm and egg) mutations and the heritability of autism, don’t worry, we have it recorded on www.asfpodcast.org. You can also hear a summary of what was presented on this week’s ASF podcast here.

Webinar speakers and commentators.

The October 1, 2015 webinar explored emerging concepts in basic reproductive biology and also the heritability of ASDs. We know that autism is highly heritable, in the sense that ASD risk is higher among siblings, but it's not shown to be highly "genetic" in the classic sense that these traits or genes are passed from generation to generation.

To probe what might lie underneath these observations, we felt it important to take a multidisciplinary approach, starting with the complicated biology of germ cells themselves. The unique molecular biology and particular vulnerabilities of the early germline may inform the risk of the "de novo" events we see in autism. By de novo we mean genetic and epigenetic changes arising in the parents' egg or sperm, but not seen in the parents themselves.

This effort only scratched the surface of this vast and rapidly developing subject matter, but, we hope it will prompt deeper thinking about autism genetics and inspire further research that may help to connect the dots.

ASF Podcast from October 1, 2015

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