Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with high heritability and a likely complex genetic architecture. Much genetic evidence has accumulated in the last 20 years but no gene has been unequivocally identified as containing risk variants for autism. In this article we review the past and present literature on neuro-pathological, genetic linkage, genetic association, and gene expression studies in this disorder. We sought convergent evidence to support particular genes or chromosomal regions that might be likely to contain risk DNA variants. The convergent evidence from these studies supports the current hypotheses that there are multiple genetic loci predisposing to autism, and that genes involved in neurodevelopment are especially important for future genetic studies. Convergent evidence suggests the chromosome regions 7q21.2-q36.2, 16p12.1-p13.3, 6q14.3-q23.2, 2q24.1-q33.1, 17q11.1-q21.2, 1q21-q44 and 3q21.3-q29, are likely to contain risk genes for autism. Taken together with results from neuro-pathological studies, genes involved in brain development located at the above regions should be prioritized for future genetic research.
Trinity College Dublin ->