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Genetic Counseling and Ethical Issues for Autism


Genetic Counseling and Ethical Issues for Autism

William M McMahon et al. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet.


Exciting progress is being made in the journey toward discovery of genes conferring risk for autism and autism spectrum disorders. Currently, genetic counseling for idiopathic autism rests on clinical diagnosis and empiric risk estimates. While no genetic test for risk of autism currently exists, it is possible that such a test may emerge in the near future, and that commercial availability may precede adequate understanding of test characteristics. The complexity of multifactorial conditions like autism raises a host of ethical and counseling challenges. For families to benefit from new genetic knowledge about autism, it will be important for their practitioners to be knowledgeable about the issues, utilize appropriate educational interventions and emerging management options, and help families across the cultural spectrum cope with these challenges.

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