Autism Genome Project
Launched in 2004, the Autism Genome Project, or AGP, is the largest study ever conducted to find the genes associated with inherited risk for autism. Many of the world’s leading genetics researchers pooled their resources and used a promising new technology, the DNA microarray, to scan the human genome in the search for the genetic causes of this devastating disorder, which continue to elude the medical field as prevalence rises.
The project is a public/private research partnership involving approximately 50 academic and research institutions that have pooled their DNA samples in a collaborative effort. It is designed to enable doctors to biologically diagnose autism and enable researchers to develop universal medical treatments and a cure.
The first phase of the project, a research partnership with the National Institutes of Health, consist ed of two scans of the human genome searching for autism susceptibility genes. The scans analyzed DNA samples from nearly 1, 200 families.
Phase 2 will expand on the results of the first phase and allow researchers to confirm or deny the role of genes previously identified as possibly harboring autism susceptibility genes.