In a recent report published by Nature Medicine, scientists have found that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic risk factors and are as distinct in their behaviors as any brothers and sisters – which is a surprise to many.
As discussed in this New York Times article, scientists analyzed genetic material from 85 families using an approach called whole-genome sequencing. And they found that 30% of the 85 sibling pairs in the study shared the same mutation, while about 70% did not.
By having different mutations, this means that the impact, and symptoms, of autism can vary greatly, even among with closest of relatives. (One family is discussed in the NYT article as an example – two brothers sharing an autism diagnosis, one will approach strangers, the other is much more shy; one loves computers, the other doesn’t; one brother is continuously on the move, while the other usually parks himself in the same place.)
The saying of “if you know one person with autism, then you know one person with autism” really holds true, even when it comes to individual families.
Read more about the study here.
Lynsey, Community Manager