New Findings Indicate Little Overlap in Autism-Linked Genes in Siblings with Autism

Over the years government health-related agencies and non-profit organizations have focused much of their support on discovering the "autism gene" or set of genes. In a recent unexpected finding published in Nature Medicine, the "largest-ever autism genome study" revealed that siblings, who are both on the autism spectrum, have different autism-linked genes.

This much anticipated study sought to pinpoint those genes that contribute to autism. However, the results revealed that "69.4% of siblings carried different autism-related genetic mutations." In contrast to the gene-only approach to understanding autism, recent research on twins have provided compelling evidence regarding an interaction between genes and the environment. This area of study, often referred to as "epigenetics," is the next logical approach to determining the underlying cause(s) of autism.

The idea of epigenetics contributing to autism was first suggested in 1964 by Dr. Bernard Rimland in his seminal book, Infantile Autism, and in an interview with him in the 1968 film documentary The Invisible Wall. Dr. Rimland's book was recently reprinted with updates on many of the topics raised in the book and is available on


Published: 04/13/2015