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Autism spectrum disorders and autistic traits: a decade of new twin studies

Ronald, Angelica and Hoekstra, Rosa A. (2011). Autism spectrum disorders and autistic traits: a decade of new twin studies. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 156(3) pp. 255–274.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.31159
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Abstract

Researchers continue to pursue a better understanding of the symptoms, comorbidities, and causes of autism spectrum disorders. In this article we review more than 30 twin studies of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and autistic traits published in the last decade that have contributed to this endeavor. These twin studies have reported on the heritability of autism spectrum disorders and autistic traits in different populations and using different measurement and age groups. These studies have also stimulated debate andnewhypotheses regarding why ASDs show substantial symptom heterogeneity, and what causes their comorbidity with intellectual disability, language delay, and other psychiatric disorders such as ADHD. These studies also reveal that the etiology of autism and autistic traits assessed in the general population is more similar than different, which contributes to the question of where the boundary lies between autism and typical development. Recent findings regarding molecular genetic and environmental causes of autism are discussed in the relation to these twin studies. Lastly, methodological assumptions of the twin design are given consideration, as well as issues of measurement. Future research directions are suggested to ensure that this decade is as productive as the last in attempting to disentangle the causes of autism spectrum disorders.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
ISSN: 1552-485X
Keywords: autism; twins; genetics; comorbidity
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Biomedical Research Network (BRN)
Item ID: 26871
Depositing User: Rosa Hoekstra
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2011 14:49
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2014 05:42
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/26871
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