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We All Carry the Genes for Autism, Study Finds

The autism spectrum is a continuum, scientists say, and we’re all on it. A large international study of the genes that predispose people to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) suggests that the same gene variants are also present in the wider population, where they can contribute to a range of behavioral and developmental traits with lesser severity than clinical ASD. According to the researchers, there’s no real cut-off point on the autism spectrum — rather, it’s a continuum of complex genetic factors that can affect our behavior. But for a small percentage of the community who have more of certain gene variants than others, this gives them a greater likelihood of demonstrating the social and behavioral traits recognized as clinical ASD. “This is the first study that specifically shows that [genetic] factors that we have unambiguously associated with autism are also very clearly associated with social communication differences in the general population,” geneticist Elise Robinson from Harvard University told The Guardian.

“The primary implication is that the line at which we say people are affected or unaffected is arbitrary,” she added. “There is no clear objective point either in terms of genetic risk or in terms of behavioral traits, where you can say quite simply or categorically that you’re affected or unaffected. It’s like trying to pick a point where you say someone is tall or not.”
Source/more: Science Alert

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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