Fraternal Twins Study: Autism risk turns to womb

Most of the risk of autism has been blamed by experts on inherited genes. Now one of the largest studies of twins and autism shifts the focus to the womb, suggesting that the mother’s age and health may play a larger role than thought.

Earlier studies have found 90% of autism is due to inherited genetic factors, but the new study of nearly 200 sets of Californian twins suggests environmental factors may explain 55% of the risk, instead of just 10%.

 

Fraternal twins generally share about 50% of their genes

Australian experts said if confirmed by further research, the findings would “radically alter people’s understanding” of how autism should be addressed, and might for the first time allow for prevention strategies.


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