Biological markers of ASD

Genetic markers 

Studies that focus on the biological markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) complement those conducted on behavioural markers. Charting biological markers, such as physical characteristics, hormones, genetic features or brain function, will not only help in facilitating a more objective, and earlier, diagnosis of the ASDs but, importantly, will enhance our understanding of the biological basis of these conditions.

We are contributing to world-wide research on the genetic markers of ASD with some innovative studies of 'animal models'. Looking at how certain modified genes of some animal species, such as fruit flies, are linked to ASD-related issues may help to identify genetic markers. We are also contributing to the large Australian repository of phenotypic and biological information of children with ASD and their parents, the CRC-funded Autism Biobank, that will be used to facilitate earlier and more accurate diagnosis of ASD in children. The data obtained will provide information for the genetic and biochemical analyses of blood and saliva samples.

Current studies

Studies currently recruiting participants

Australian Autism Biobank

Researchers: Andrew Whitehouse (Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia), Cheryl Dissanayake, Valsamma Eapen (University of New South Wales) & Honey Heussler (University of Queensland)

Study ID code: MM1. Register for this study using our online form.

Funding: Autism CRC

Study aim: OTARC is the Victorian partner of a large project, the Australian Autism Biobank. The aim is to collect detailed biological and behavioural information on children diagnosed with ASD in Australia. This information will contribute to research, both in Australia and internationally, into the similarities and differences among children with ASD, so we can gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of this spectrum of conditions.

Selection criteria for participants: Families of children (2-17 years) who are diagnosed with an ASD.

What is involved for participants: The children will undergo a comprehensive assessment of their behaviour and development. The parents will be interviewed and complete questionnaires about their child and family, and both child and parents will be asked to give a small amount of blood.

For more information or to participate in this study please contact: Melanie Muniandy or 03-9479 5421.

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