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Previous research has suggested that the genetic risk for autism is largely passed through the maternal line. However, those studies examined “coding DNA,” the genetic material that directly codes for proteins and makes up only about 2 percent of the genome. Now, a new study in Science has looked at noncoding DNA (which regulates the expression of coding DNA) and found evidence that some autism risk is inherited from fathers. Researchers examined variants from noncoding regions of the genome they suspected might be associated with autism in 9,274 participants from 2,600 families. They looked at the pattern ion which parents passed on these variants to their autistic and non autistic children and found that they were passed on from fathers to their autistic children at a higher rate than to their non autistic children. No evidence was found that mothers’ noncoding DNA influences their children’s risk for autism. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives