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Genetics of Autism

  • Sarah Curran
  • Patrick Bolton

Autism is the prototypical form of a group of disorders that are referred to as the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). It is a behaviorally defined syndrome characterized by the presence of qualitative abnormalities in the development of reciprocal social interaction and communication, coupled with restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior and interests. The syndrome has, by definition, an onset before the age of 3 years. The definition and diagnostic criteria for autism in the main international classification systems are closely comparable (i.e., the International Classification of Diseases version-10 (ICD-10) of the World Health Organization and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version IV (DSM-IV) of the USA). However, the two classification schemes take a rather different approach to the categorization of other forms of pervasive developmental disorder. Some of the other PDD subtypes seem very likely to be closely related conditions that represent variants of autism, although this is not yet firmly established. The main subtypes recognized in ICD-10 include Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. In DSM-IV only Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified – PDD-NOS (DSM-IV) are separately classified. Currently these syndromes are thought to be genetically related. Accordingly, many research groups are collectively referring to this group of conditions as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and combining them for inclusion in genetic studies.

Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorder Tuberous Sclerosis Asperger Syndrome Child Psychology Autism Spectrum Quotient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychologist MedicineInstitute of PsychiatryDe Crespigny ParkUK

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