Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23875794
Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2013;14:191-213
The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in social interaction and stereotyped behaviors. For the majority of individuals with ASD, the causes of the disorder remain unknown; however, in up to 25% of cases, a genetic cause can be identified. Chromosomal rearrangements as well as rare and de novo copy-number variants are present in ∼10-20% of individuals with ASD, compared with 1-2% in the general population and/or unaffected siblings. Rare and de novo coding-sequence mutations affecting neuronal genes have also been identified in ∼5-10% of individuals with ASD. Common variants such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms seem to contribute to ASD susceptibility, but, taken individually, their effects appear to be small. Despite a heterogeneous genetic landscape, the genes implicated thus far-which are involved in chromatin remodeling, metabolism, mRNA translation, and synaptic function-seem to converge in common pathways affecting neuronal and synaptic homeostasis. Animal models developed to study these genes should lead to a better understanding of the diversity of the genetic landscapes of ASD.