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Evidence of assortative mating in autism spectrum disorder

Connolly, Siobhan, Anney, Richard, Gallagher, Louise and Heron, Elizabeth 2019. Evidence of assortative mating in autism spectrum disorder. Biological Psychiatry 86 (4) , pp. 286-293. 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.04.014

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Background Assortative mating is a non-random mating system in which individuals with similar genotypes and/or phenotypes mate with one another more frequently than would be expected in a random mating system. Assortative mating has been hypothesized to play a role in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in an attempt to explain some of the increase in the prevalence of ASD that has recently been observed. ASD is considered to be a heritable neurodevelopmental disorder but there is limited understanding of its causes. Assortative mating can be explored through both phenotypic and genotypic data, but up until now, has never been investigated through genotypic measures in ASD. Methods We investigated genotypically similar mating pairs using genome-wide Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) data on trio families (Autism Genome Project (AGP) data (1,590 parents) and Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) data (1962 parents)). To determine whether or not an excess in genetic similarity was present we employed kinship coefficients and examined spousal correlation between the principal components in both the AGP and SSC datasets. We also examined assortative mating using phenotype data on the parents to detect any correlation between ASD traits. Results We found significant evidence of genetic similarity between the parents of ASD offspring using both methods in the AGP dataset. In the SSC, there was also significant evidence of genetic similarity between the parents when explored through spousal correlation. Conclusions This gives further support to the hypothesis that positive assortative mating plays a role in ASD.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0006-3223
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 April 2019
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2019
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2020 14:59

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