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Autism Speaks to Fund Sick Kids' 700-Families Sequencing Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Autism Speaks has awarded $800,000 to fund a study that will sequence the genomes of members of 700 Canadian families and generate data for an international genomics project focused on autism spectrum disorders.

The grant was awarded to Stephen Scherer, director of The Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children and director of the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine at the University of Toronto, to fund the ASD "Genomes to Outcomes" initiative. In this project, Scherer's lab will perform the sequencing on 700 families that are affected by autism subtypes and produce data that can be used to personalize their treatments.

Scherer's current project will aim to translate whole-genome sequencing findings and methods into the clinical setting with the goal of making earlier diagnoses, Autism Speaks said.

The results from this study will be contributed to the Autism Ten Thousand Genomes Program (AUT10K), which launched in 2011 and Scherer directs. As GenomeWeb Daily News reported in March, the AUT10K initiative reeled in a $3 million donation to fund expansion of the project into its second phase and to add more sequence data to Autism Speaks' preexisting Autism Genetic Resource Exchange.

Earlier this month, Autism Speaks said it had struck a collaboration with Google to create a database of genomic information on ASD from the AUT10K project that will be an open resource for autism researchers and will be available on the Google Cloud Platform.