Home > Science, Uncategorized > The Year in Review from Autism Speaks’ Chief Science Officer

The Year in Review from Autism Speaks’ Chief Science Officer

Dear friends,

When I was a college student starting to explore autism research, one of the first studies I read provided strong evidence that autism was mostly a genetic condition. That study, by Michael Rutter and Susan Folstein, looked at 21 pairs of twins, at least one of each pair being affected by autism. It compared identical twins, who share all of their genetic makeup, with fraternal twins, who share around half their genes. It found that when one identical twin had autism, so did the other 83 percent of the time. By contrast, this was true of only 10 percent of the fraternal twins. For the next three decades, it was taken as fact that the causes of autism were almost completely genetic.

That changed this past year with the largest ever autism twin study, made possible by  your support for Autism Speaks and its Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Read more …

  1. Sarah
    January 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you Dr. Dawson for not becoming a back up singer for Diana Ross.

    I was trying to figure out where on earth you went to college, as I was going to thank that wonderful college where you first read that Rutter/Folstein article (to all interested, the thanks goes to the University of Washington). However, finding the Rockstars of Science is much more fun.

    With gratitude,


  1. January 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

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