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Study uncovers why autism is more common in males

Males are at greater risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, than females, but the underlying reasons have been unclear. A large cohort study provides compelling evidence in support of the 'female protective model,' which proposes that females require more extreme genetic mutations than do males to push them over the diagnostic threshold for neurodevelopmental disorders. Researchers found that females diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder or ASD had a greater number of harmful CNVs than did males diagnosed with the same disorder. Moreover, females diagnosed with ASD had a greater number of harmful SNVs than did males with ASD. These findings suggest that the female brain requires more extreme genetic alterations than does the male brain to produce symptoms of ASD or neurodevelopmental disorders.
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