My cousin has Aspergers and growing up I would think to myself, “Why does Sean have Aspergers?”. I often thought it wasn’t fair that he had to struggle with Aspergers and no one else in my family did. I wondered how it must feel to be the only person in our family to have it and how it must feel to know you are different from everybody else. The most recent time I saw my cousin I started wondering if the type of autism he has, Aspergers, is genetic. Did my Aunt and Uncle carry certain genes that made him have Autism? While thinking about blog topics to write about this one came to mind and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do some research on the question I had, is autism genetic?
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What is Aspergers?
First off I’ll give you some background about the form of autism my cousin has, Aspergers. The way my parents explained it to me is that it is a form of Autism and many people that have it don’t pick up on social cues and are generally socially awkward in social situations. For example, my cousin is 19 and he is visually uncomfortable when he has to simply greet people and shake their hand. Aspergers is a high functioning form of Autism. Some cases are worse than others but many people with Aspergers have jobs and are productive members of society. Aspergers according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary is defined as, “A developmental disorder resembling autism that is characterized by impaired social interaction, by restricted and repetitive behaviors and activities, and by normal language and cognitive development.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Is Autism Genetic?
According to the first source I read while researching this question autism seems to be more common in people who share similar genes, like twins. Twins are more likely to both be born with autism than fraternal twins are. I think that this shows how there must be a genetic link to autism. This source also talks about how scientists think that there is definitely a genetic thread in autism. I know that scientists do not yet know what exact genes cause autism but I think that with time that will be discovered. With more technology advanced and research done on autism I think figuring out the exact genes that play a part in causing autism will be discovered. I was surprised when I found out while reading that autism seems to be hereditary. This surprised me because my cousin who has Aspergers is the only one in our family to have a form of autism. Before doing research I didn’t think that autism would have been genetic. Researchers have found 20 chromosomes that have areas of them that can help researchers figure out which genes are linked to autism. Once researches are able to find the certain gene or genes that are linked to autism I think many advancements will be made. With the help of the advancing technology surrounding genetics I predict researchers will be able to get rid of the gene that causes autism and one day autism won’t exist. Another source I found researching found in a study trying to determine the causes of autism that it was 95% genetic in a study of 258 twins. This source also mentions how there are many possible genes that link to autistic traits. I think this is going to make it a lot harder for scientists to figure out exactly which ones do. Clearly autism is genetic but we don’t know yet what exact gene or maybe genes link to autism. With technology advancing I am hopeful that one day scientist will know exactly which genes link to autism. That would be a huge breakthrough discovery in science.
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Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
“Autism and Genetics.” Autism and Genetics | Understanding Genetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
GeneticLiteracy. “Autism in Our DNA? Slew of Studies Points to Genetics as Main Driver, but There Is No “autism Gene” | Genetic Literacy Project.” Genetic Literacy Project. N.p., 09 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
“Controlling the Genetic Genie.” 3D PERSPECTIVES RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
Doc. “Autism, Down Syndrome, and Other Genetic Disorders.” Organic Lifestyle Magazine. N.p., 13 May 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.