A recent article in the Archives of General Psychiatry by Hallmayer et al. discussed the role of genetic and environmental factors in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study was a heritability analysis of 192 pairs of twins, which attributed 37 percent of the variation in risk of autism to genetic factors and 55 percent to shared environmental factors. The authors contrasted their findings with those of previous studies, which had given genetics a much higher share (up to 90%).
Rather than contradicting previous research, the new results provide more evidence that autism, like many other common diseases, results from both genetic and environmental factors. The way that these elements – often called “nature and nurture” – influence health outcomes has been discussed for decades but is often misunderstood, even among scientists.
Disease Causation is Not as Easy as… Pie Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Genomics and Health Impact Blog*