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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

The Brain Genomics Superstruct Project

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Buckner, Randy

Description

Description

Genetic factors have long been known to play a role in the development of autism, but the contribution of common genetic variations - those that crop up in at least one percent of the general population - to the disorder is not known. Randy Buckner and his colleagues at Harvard University are developing a new, highly efficient approach to explore the effects of these variations on brain functions associated with autism. Many of the hundreds of genes involved in brain development have common variations that presumably contribute to the typical diversity found in the general population. Buckner and colleagues hypothesize that genetic predisposition to autism occurs when brain development is steered down an abnormal path through the combined influence of dozens - or even hundreds - of common variations, each with a small role. To determine the role of such variations in autism, Buckner and colleagues will first attempt to understand their role in typical development. To that end, the researchers will collect saliva samples from 1,000 typically developing people, as well as data from a recently developed imaging tool called functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging, or fcMRI. This tool allows researchers to examine basic properties of brain organization - such as which hemisphere is dominant for language, and whether typical connectivity patterns are present in brain systems used for thinking - and link differences in these properties to specific genetic variants. The researchers will pay particular attention to variations in genes known to be associated with autism. Buckner and colleagues have dubbed their effort the Brain Genomics Superstruct Project, as it builds on, or "superstructs", the collective foundation laid by previous work on autism. Because the complex studies linking genetics and brain function will require the effort of many research groups, the researchers plan to share their data collection, which will eventually include 5,000 people. The team will also share their rapid fcMRI protocol, which eases the burden of data acquisition by capturing imaging data in less than 15 minutes per subject.

Funder

Funder

Simons Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2011-2013

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2LB. Launch at least three studies which evaluate the applicability of ASD phenotype and/or biological signature findings for performing diagnosis, risk assessment, or clinical intervention by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $7,200,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

The Brain Genomics Superstruct Project (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Harvard University

State/Country

State/Country

Massachusetts

Project Number

Project Number

205055

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

The Brain Genomics Superstruct Project | 150000 | 2012 | 205055
The Brain Genomics Superstruct Project | 150000 | 2013 | 205055
The brain genomics superstruct project | 75000 | 2009 | 137319
The brain genomics superstruct project | 150000 | 2010 | 137319
The brain genomics superstruct project | 75000 | 2011 | 137319

 
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