Is Prenatal or Early Genetic Testing Available to Identify Autism in Kids?

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It would be quite misleading for a parent to become anxious if a prenatal test showed that their child had one or another particular mutation because it's not clear what mutations are causal. Maybe they are contributing and maybe they contribute a small percentage or maybe they won't.

Most of the mutations that have been found in large, recent studies of autism are really rare and by most accounts it's believed that roughly hundreds if not up to a thousand different genes are potentially in a position if mutated to contribute to autism. So that's a very large number and none of them have been pinned down as potentially causative genes, only genes that put you at risk and among individuals, among a small percentage of autistic individuals, it does appear that there may be a hereditaribility/g factor that is something is being inherited from mum and dad that does put your child at greater risk.

That's a smaller, a much smaller percentage of the entire autism population. So the spontaneous mutations are probably telling us something about a large percentage, but there's also this inherited smaller percentage of cases. So, some parents have an autistic child have another child and that child's autistic.

Well, if you have two children who are autistic, the chances of a third child being autistic go way way up because there appears to be in that family an inherited risk. So there're different paths to autism, some that are inherited in a subset and some that are spontaneous. So coming up with a marker for both these types is quite a challenge and there are no markers at the present time, there are no prenatal markers or perinatal markers.

We are doing genetic research in which we feel we found potential evidence for genetic risk markers by one or two years of age but we don't know if it's going to hold up and we're in the process of testing it further.