Association of Polygenic Liability for Autism With Face-Sensitive Cortical Responses From Infancy | Autism Spectrum Disorders | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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    Research Letter
    June 7, 2021

    Association of Polygenic Liability for Autism With Face-Sensitive Cortical Responses From Infancy

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom
    • 2Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom
    • 3Department of Psychology, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
    • 4Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
    • 5Department of Psychology, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
    • 6Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
    • 7Department of Psychology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
    JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 7, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.1338

    Autism is a heritable condition affecting 1% of people worldwide. Despite a pressing need for early intervention, the developmental paths through which genetic variants are associated with emerging behavioral symptoms in infancy remain opaque. The latency of the N170 event-related potential response to faces is replicably altered in individuals with autism1 and has potential as a stratification biomarker for prognostic social functioning.2 The N170 precursor (N290) to faces vs nonfaces is also altered prior to symptom emergence in infants subsequently diagnosed with autism.3 These early differences in brain processing represent a plausible developmental mechanism linking genetic liability and behavioral autism symptoms. We investigated whether N290 latency to faces vs nonfaces is associated with autism polygenic scores and cross-disorder polygenic scores in infants with and without a family history of autism.

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