Research Sheds Light on Why Autism Is More Prevalent in Boys

A new study is helping unravel an enduring mystery surrounding autism: Why boys are much more likely to be affected by the disorder than girls.

An international team led by Dr. John Vincent, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, examined specific genes in almost 3,000 people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 246 others with intellectual disability. They then compared that data to genes from more than 10,000 control individuals.

Reporting in the Sept. 15 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the team found that mutations in the PTCHD1 ("patched") gene are linked to inherited forms of autism and intellectual disability in about 1 percent of affected people in the study. It was not found in any of the controls, however.

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