UCLA researchers are involved in a multi-site research study called the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), to gather DNA samples from 2,000 autism patients and their families over the next three years. The SSC is a coordinated effort to create a database of information about cases where there is only one family member with autism. This group, which represents the great majority of autism spectrum disorders, will lead us to new genetic factors that increase the risk of autism.
Families from Southern California are currently being recruited to participate. Families eligible to participate consist of: only one child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), age four or older; one or more siblings without an ASD, age four or older; and unaffected biological parents who are willing to participate. Eligible children with an ASD will receive a behavioral assessment and all family members will donate blood, a source of DNA. A small number of families with no siblings or siblings under the age of four may be eligible to participate in the study. This information will be made available to scientists around the world who are searching for clues to the causes of autism.