From: University of Toronto
Published April 17, 2017 08:45 AM

Big data helps autism research: U of T team identifies 18 new genes increasing risk

Scientists in the world’s largest autism genomics project recently identified 18 new genes that increase risk for the condition.

Some of the genes seen in participants also carry risk for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions, opening the potential for more personalized genetic counselling.

The results of the project, named MSSNG, provide more evidence that each person’s autism is unique, meaning researchers will still need a lot more genomic data before they can sort and target the many forms of the condition. However, some families are already benefitting. The MSSNG project includes whole-genome data from more than 7,000 individuals affected by autism, and that data is stored on Google Cloud, which allows access to researchers around the world.

Professor Stephen Scherer, director of both the McLaughlin Centre at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children, is the senior investigator for MSSNG.

 

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