New Study Sheds Light on Complex Genetics of Autism in East African Families; East Africans Have Higher Prevalence of This Condition Versus Other Populations

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University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center researchers have identified hundreds of genomic variants associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in East African families who have a markedly higher prevalence of the neurodevelopmental condition than other populations worldwide. The study, published on May 11, 2023 in Cell Genomics, is the first to investigate the genetics of ASD in an African population, an important step toward decreasing racial and ethnic health disparities for this condition, the authors said. The open-access article is titled “The Genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorder in an East African Familial Cohort.” “The overwhelming majority of all genetic ASD studies done to date have focused on exclusively white populations with European ancestry,” said Maria Chahrour, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at UTSW in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development. “There are growing efforts in the field to look at the genetics of ASD in African populations. We are happy and proud to be the first to publish on this important topic.”
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