SAGE Publications in association with the National Autistic Society
Autism vol:8 issue:2 pages:141-161
We review the different strategies currently used to try to identify susceptibility genes for idiopathic autism. Although identification of genes is usually straightforward in Mendelian disorders, it has proved to be much more difficult to establish in polygenic disorders like autism. Neither genome screens of affected siblings nor the large number of association studies using candidate genes have resulted in finding autism susceptibility genes. We focus on the alternative approach of 'positional cloning' through chromosomal aberrations in individuals with autism. In particular, balanced aberrations such as reciprocal translocations or inversions offer a unique opportunity, since only the genes in the breakpoint regions are candidate genes. This approach, in combination with others, is likely to produce results in the coming years.