Epigenetics: The New Frontier of Autism Research

Karley Brock


Epigenetic modifications occur in our cells constantly based on our needs and our current state. These modifications mandate which genes are replicated and/or translated into proteins. The role of epigenetics in the etiology of diseases is an area of research that is largely uncharted, but shows great potential. Autism Spectrum Disorder is classified as a multifactorial disorder, and those affected exhibit large amounts of both genetic and environmental variation. Current research suggests epigenetic modifications may play a significant role in the development of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Several thousand epigenetic modifications unique to affected individuals have been discovered (Sun et al., 2016). Though the exact causes are not yet fully understood, researchers are optimistic they will be brought to light with the help of epigenetic testing. 

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