ERIC Number: EJ796680
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 0
Genetic and Environmental Influences on Symptom Domains in Twins and Siblings with Autism
Mazefsky, Carla A.; Goin-Kochel, Robin P.; Riley, Brien P.; Maes, Hermine H.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, v2 n2 p320-331 Apr-Jun 2008
Clarifying the sources of variation among autism symptom domains is important to the identification of homogenous subgroups for molecular genetic studies. This study explored the genetic and environmental bases of nonverbal communication and social interaction, two symptom domains that have also been related to treatment response, in 1294 child and adolescent twins and siblings with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange under the age of 18. Twin/sibling resemblance was assessed through correlations and behavior genetic modeling of autism diagnostic interview (ADI) nonverbal communication and social scores. Variation in these phenotypes was explained by additive genetic, dominant genetic, and unique environmental factors with no evidence for shared environmental factors. Broad heritability estimates were higher for nonverbal communication (45%) than social interaction (28%). Nonverbal communication and social scores were partially accounted for by the same underlying genetic and environmental factors. Gender differences were not supported. These results add to information on familial resemblance of these symptom domains based on correlational methods, and this study is one of the first to apply behavioral genetic modeling to a PDD population. The results have implications for molecular genetics as well as treatment.
Descriptors: Twins, Nonverbal Communication, Autism, Interpersonal Relationship, Genetics, Interaction, Environmental Influences, Gender Differences, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Siblings, Molecular Biology, Correlation, Social Influences, Family Influence
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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