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Autism Study Shifts Focus From Nature to Nurture

Research on autism in recent decades has emphasized the contributing role of genetics, but a new study out of UCSF and Stanford might prove to be a game-changer, ranking environmental factors (e.g., parenting) higher than biology in order of importance. –KA

San Francisco Chronicle:

The study, published in Monday’s issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at 192 pairs of twins in California and, using a mathematical model, found that genetics account for about 38 percent of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for about 62 percent.

Previous twin studies had suggested that autism was highly inheritable, with genetics accounting for roughly 90 percent of all cases worldwide. As such, much recent research into autism has focused on tracking down the genes and unlocking the complex genetic codes that are associated with autism.

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