Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Characterizing the genetic systems of autism through multi-disease analysis  

Although autism is clearly heritable, the molecular agents responsible remain elusive. More than 100 genes have been tied to autism, each of which is involved in numerous different biological processes and in a variety of different molecular interactions. This project will provide a way to grasp this complexity by shifting the focus from single genes to the entire genetic system of autism. The complete network of molecular interactions for all autism candidate genes will be built using bioinformatic methods that integrate multiple sources of genomic and bibliomic information. While this network will be a powerful enabler of new discoveries in autism, it will not be enough to fully grasp the genetic underpinnings of the various behaviors indicative of the disorder. However, the behavioral similarities between autism and numerous other neurological disorders suggest that there are common molecular mechanisms that could help provide a clearer genotype-phenotype map of autism. This work will capitalize on these similarities by conducting a comprehensive comparative analysis of the autism network with the networks of more than 400 neurological disorders. This will result in a systems level view of autism and its most similar neurological disorders that will not only elucidate emergent trends that clarify the genetic basis of the spectrum, but will also help to prioritize known autism candidate genes and reveal new candidates worthy of investigation. A web-based system called Autworks will be constructed; Autworks will be both an up-to-date central clearing house for all information relevant to the genetic component of autism and a powerful research tool that allows researchers to view the genetic component of autism as a network and in light of research results on related neurological disorders. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $630,255.00
Current Award Period 2010-2014
Project Number 1R01MH090611-01A1
Principal Investigator Wall, Dennis
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Subcategory Computational Science
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 2SG. Support five studies that associate specific genotypes with functional or structural phenotypes, including behavioral and medical phenotypes (e.g., nonverbal individuals with ASD and those with cognitive impairments) by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $22,600,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Harvard Medical School
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Characterizing the genetic systems of autism through multi-disease analysis (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects N/A