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 by collecting phenotypic and biological samples of children with and without ASD and their parents for  the CRC-funded Autism Biobank, which is the large Australian repository of such information. The behavioural, genetic and biochemical data obtained from this research will contribute to finding possible causes of ASD, and ultimately facilitate earlier and more accurate diagnosis of ASD in children.

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.

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 with and without ASD and their families 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) with and without an ASD diagnosis.

What is involved for participants: The children (with and without autism) will undergo a comprehensive assessment of their behaviour and development. The parents will be interviewed and will complete questionnaires about their child and family. Both parents and children will be asked to give a small amount of blood, as well as samples of hair, urine and stool. Please see our information statement for more details.

For more information or to participate in this study please contact: Dr Rachel Jellett or 03-9479 5421.