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Genetic alterations in shared biological pathways identified as major risk factor for autism spectrum disorders

A substantial proportion of risk for developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD) resides in genes that are part of specific, interconnected biological pathways, according to researchers who conducted a broad study of almost 2,500 families in the United States and throughout the world. ASD affects about one percent of the population in the United States and is characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, as well as by repetitive and restricted behaviors. ASD ranges from mild to severe levels of impairment, with cognitive function among individuals from above average to intellectual disability.
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