The configuration of methyl groups that modify DNA in sperm change as men get older. These alterations may help explain why children of older fathers are at increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.
Epidemiological ‘just-so’ stories, which infer causes of autism from general trends in prevalence, are in danger of repeating the mistakes of social Darwinism, says Mayada Elsabbagh.
Children with autism have atypical patterns of epigenetic modifications — chemical tags on DNA that influence gene expression, suggests a study published 29 May in PLOS Genetics.
CHD8, a gene that regulates the structure of DNA, is the closest thing so far to an ‘autism gene,’ suggests a study published today in Cell. People with mutations in this gene all have the same cluster of symptoms, including autism.
Mice with older fathers have different gene expression patterns in their brains than do mice with younger fathers, reports a study published 23 March in Molecular Autism. Many of the differences involve genes linked to autism.