Genetic Heritability and Shared Environmental Factors Among Twin Pairs With Autism
Presented by Clara Lajonchere, PhD at the Fall 2012 Autism Research Institute Conference
Autism has been described as the most heritable of the neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the most recent population-based study of twins in the state of California has challenged the role that genetics plays in the etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The talk will discuss published data from the largest study to date of identical and fraternal twin pairs with ASD. The results of this study have been described as a game-changer in the field, suggesting a greater role of the environment and a further emphasis on the investigation of gene x environment interactions.
Dr. Clara Lajonchere currently serves as vice president of clinical programs for Autism Speaks, where she oversees a diverse portfolio of clinical programs and resources that facilitate translational research in autism spectrum disorders. These include the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and the the Autism Treatment Network (ATN. She is also clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern Californiaâ€™s Keck School of Medicine and research assistant professor at USCâ€™s Viterbi School of Engineering, through which she serves as principal investigator and director of the NIH-funded Center for Genomic and Phenomic Studies in Autism. She was a co-author on the recent population-based California Autism Twins Study, which was transformative for the field.