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Mutation in Father's Sperm Could Foretell Autism Risk in Children

The study revealed that the findings could lead to tests in which it could be determined through sperm screening.

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Updated:December 27, 2019, 7:23 AM IST
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Mutation in Father's Sperm Could Foretell Autism Risk in Children
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A new study now finds that mutations in a father's sperm could predict risk of a child being diagnosed with autism. According to a study published in Daily Mail, the genetic flaw was present in 15 percent of men with autistic children. The flaw is known as 'de novo mutations' and can appear in a child's DNA through problems in sperm production.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, revealed that the findings could lead to tests in which it could be determined, through sperm screening if fathers would pass on the development disorder to their children.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, saw researchers looking at the sperm of eight fathers who had children who were already diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and analyse the sperm for mosaicism. Mosaicism is a condition in which a person has genetically different sets of cells within their body.

Speaking about it, first author of the study, Dr Martin Breuss told the publication that mutations occur every time a cell divides and thus no two cells in the body are genetically identical. Dr Breuss further added that since mosaicism occurs in an unborn baby's early developmental stages following an error in cell division, it is shared by many cells in the body.

The doctor further added that if the mutation happens only in the sperm, it can show up in a child but not cause any effect in the father.

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