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

Identical twins discordant for autism: Epigenetic (DNA methylation) biomarkers of non-shared environmental influences  

The fact that some pairs of identical twins differ in autistic symptoms makes clear that there must be an important non-genetic (i.e., environmental) component as well that can differ even within a family (called non-shared environment). This project will investigate a major biological mechanism that can retain a long-lasting impression of the environment and which regulates gene expression: DNA methylation. Dr. Plomin's lab will study DNA methylation in a twin cohort called the "twins early development study" using a new technology to study the whole genome. First, this lab will examine differences in DNA methylation across identical twins discordant for autism. These differences can be caused by a "non-shared" environment within a family. In addition, they will study whether these differences are seen between those affected with autism and unrelated cases who are not diagnosed. Finally, the Plomin lab will examine epigenetic markers that differ in individuals who show a social vs. non-social phenotype. The proposed biological index of non-shared environmental influence will be a vital starting point for mapping out the environmental causal pathways that lead to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which have special value because risky environments could be prevented or reversed more easily than risky genotypes. Project Status
ONGOING

2010

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $89,030.00
Current Award Period 2008-2011
Project Number 4743
Principal Investigator Plomin, Robert
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Epigenetics
Strategic Plan Objective New! Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 3SJ. Support at least three studies that focus on the role of epigenetics in the etiology of ASD, including studies that include assays to measure DNA methylations and histone modifications and those exploring how exposures may act on maternal or paternal genomes via epigenetic mechanisms to alter gene expression, by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $20,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution King's College London
State/Country United Kingdom
Web Link 1 Identical twins discordant for autism: Epigenetic (DNA methylation) biomarkers of non-shared environmental influences (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Identical twins discordant for autism: Epigenetic (DNA methylation) biomarkers of non-shared environmental influences | $108,503.00 | 2009 | 4743
Identical twins discordant for autism: Epigenetic (DNA methylation) biomarkers of non-shared environmental influences | $100,000.00 | 2008 | 4743