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Upward of One Hundred

Researchers have linked more than a hundred genes to the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, Discover's D-brief blog reports.

While the cause of autism is unknown, genetics is thought to play a role, and 65 genes have been linked previously to the condition. In the new study, which was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics' annual meeting in San Diego this week, researchers including Harvard University's Jack Kosmicki examined genetic variations found among 37,269 people, according to an ASHG press release.

The D-brief blog adds that the researchers compared the 102 genes they found to genes previously linked to autism or related disorders such as developmental delay or intellectual disability. Forty-seven of the genes they uncovered in this analysis were actually more strongly linked to developmental delay or intellectual disability than they were to autism, while 52 were more strongly linked to autism. A few genes were related to both.

"Being able to look at other disorders in connection to ASD is significant and valuable for being able to explain the genetics behind the variety of possible outcomes within ASD," Kosmicki says in a statement.