The world’s largest genetic study of people with autism has pinpointed 18 new genes that are linked to the condition.
The discovery could help identify new sub-types of the condition, as well as help explain its causes, researchers claim.
The find could also explain why people with autism often have other medical conditions, including adult diabetes and heart problems.
Scientists studied the DNA of more than 5,000 families affected by autism to find genes that contribute to the spectrum disorder.
Traditional genetic analyses look for mutations, or ‘spelling changes,’ in the one percent of our DNA that spells out our genes.
By contrast, the new database allowed researchers to analyse the entire three billion DNA base pairs that make up each person’s genome.