Identification of Gene x Sex Interaction in Autism

Autism spectrum disorders are among the most common heritable disorders
known, though for reasons unknown, four times as many males as females are
affected with autism. To investigate genetic causes for this sexual dimorphism,
we are using genome-wide genetic data to make comparisons between males and
females in order to distinguish various genetic models and to identify
sex-specific genetic susceptibility loci. If we can determine what protects
females from developing autism, that information could lead not only to
biological insights, but potentially to reduction of male risk.