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100 genes linked to Autism identified


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Autism Screening Closer as 100 Genes Linked to Disorder are Identified

Why am I posting this? Two reasons.

The first is that I happen to have an interest in autism spectrum disorders. My major concern with screening is that the autism spectrum includes Aspergers, which happens to cover some of the brightest people on the planet. Autism is a neurological condition that includes having a brain that is wired differently to the norm. That different wiring also allows those with autism (and Aspergers in particular) to see things in a different way, and come up with some brilliant ideas. As Temple Grandin once said:

“What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?

You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”
Temple Grandin, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger's

The second reason is more applicable to our community (which does include members on the autism spectrum). Sexual orientation is also a brain function that is strongly suspected to be genetically based. The percentage of the population that is homosexual is higher than the percentage who are on the autism spectrum. If it takes up to 100 genes to determine autism, then that gives an indication of how complex the issue of genetic derivation can be.

Those people who are looking for a 'gay gene' will almost certainly find that it's not a single gene but a set. How big the set will be I don't know, but taking a wild stab, I'd say somewhere in the order of 20. Who knows what other functions those genes also control? It's already been speculated that the genes for male homosexuality are linked to female fertility....

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