Identification of novel autism candidate regions through analysis of reported cytogenetic abnormalities associated with autism

Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;11(1):1, 18-28. doi: 10.1038/


The identification of the candidate genes for autism through linkage and association studies has proven to be a difficult enterprise. An alternative approach is the analysis of cytogenetic abnormalities associated with autism. We present a review of all studies to date that relate patients with cytogenetic abnormalities to the autism phenotype. A literature survey of the Medline and Pubmed databases was performed, using multiple keyword searches. Additional searches through cited references and abstracts from the major genetic conferences from 2000 onwards completed the search. The quality of the phenotype (i.e. of the autism spectrum diagnosis) was rated for each included case. Available specific probe and marker information was used to define optimally the boundaries of the cytogenetic abnormalities. In case of recurrent deletions or duplications on chromosome 15 and 22, the positions of the low copy repeats that are thought to mediate these rearrangements were used to define the most likely boundaries of the implicated 'Cytogenetic Regions Of Interest' (CROIs). If no molecular data were available, the sequence position of the relevant chromosome bands was used to obtain the approximate molecular boundaries of the CROI. The findings of the current review indicate: (1) several regions of overlap between CROIs and known loci of significant linkage and/or association findings, and (2) additional regions of overlap among multiple CROIs at the same locus. Whereas the first finding confirms previous linkage/association findings, the latter may represent novel, not previously identified regions containing genes that contribute to autism. This analysis not only has confirmed the presence of several known autism risk regions but has also revealed additional previously unidentified loci, including 2q37, 5p15, 11q25, 16q22.3, 17p11.2, 18q21.1, 18q23, 22q11.2, 22q13.3 and Xp22.2-p22.3.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Humans