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Nov 2011

Is Autism, at Least in Part, a Disorder of Fetal Programming?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(11):1091-1092. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.99

The year 1977 marked an important milestone in the history of autism. In this year, the first twin study in autism was published by Folstein and Rutter1; it demonstrated a striking difference in concordance rates between monozygous (MZ) and dyzgyous (DZ) twins. The studies that followed reported even higher MZ concordance rates, up to 90%, for a broader phenotype resembling what is currently labeled as autism spectrum disorder (ASD)2-4 and DZ concordance rates at or close to 0%. This resulted in heritability estimates greater than 90%, suggesting that almost all of the variance in phenotypic expression could be attributed to inherited genetic factors.

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