How does genetics influence autism?


Genetics plays a significant role in autism, interacting intricately with environmental factors. Autism often emerges from the interaction between genetic predispositions and various environmental triggers rather than from a single cause. Genetic influences are substantial, with a heritability estimate ranging from 40% to 80%. About 50% of autism cases are associated with common genetic variants in a polygenic model, meaning multiple genes contribute small effects that add up to a substantial influence 1.

Additionally, neurogenetic syndromes with a high incidence of autism indicate that certain genetic conditions can elevate the risk of an autism diagnosis. For example, conditions like Fragile X syndrome show a high occurrence of autism among those affected 2. This complex interplay suggests that while genetic factors are pivotal, they interact consistently with the environment, influencing the presentation and severity of autism 3.

Understanding Autism

Explore the complexities of autism as Andrew and Karen discuss the concept of neurodivergence, the idea of autism as a spectrum with varying degrees of severity, and the importance of understanding the biological basis of behavior in diagnosing and treating autism and other brain disorders.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Karen Parker: The Causes & Treatments for Autism