Families of Children with Autism Needed to Gather and Bank DNA
News Jun 23, 2008
A consortium of autism research institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, is seeking the help of children with autism and their families in establishing a genetic database that will foster research into the disorder.
Thirteen institutions are contributing to the database called the Simons Simplex Collection, which will help scientists who are looking for the cause of the disorder. Simplex refers to families with only one child affected with autism.
Future treatment "This study will be a very important resource for treating autism in the future, and assessing the disorder, both from the standpoint of genetics and observed symptoms," said Dr. Diane Treadwell-Deering, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at BCM and co-chief of the Clinic for Autistic Spectrum Disorders at Texas Children's Hospital. Treadwell-Deering will co-direct the local part of the study with Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chair of molecular and human genetics at BCM.
“This is an important extension of recent discoveries about genetic causes of autism," said Beaudet.
To be eligible families must have:
• Only one child with an autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 4 and 18 years.
• One or more other children at least 4 years old who does not have an autism spectrum disorder.
• Both biological parents who are willing to participate.
• Researchers will assess the behavior and symptoms of children in the study and ask members of their families for blood samples.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for families to contribute to research that will have a profound impact on our ability to study autism," said Dr. Robin Goin-Kochel, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and co-investigator on the project.