Two mutations in sperm donor’s genes have caused autism in at least 12 children.
Scientists believe that there are no definitive causes of autism. They usually refer to a set of factors that can cause autism spectrum disorders, for example, parents’ age, environmental conditions. Genetic predisposition to autism is also possible, but it usually comes down to genetic variations that increase the likelihood of developing autism. Separate “autism genes” are usually not singled out, but in about 2% to 4% of cases, autism is directly tied to specific mutations.
However, the case Danielle Rizzo of Illinois showed that as few as two point mutations can cause autism in a child. It has been reported by The Washington Post.
Danielle Rizzo is the mother of two children, who both have autism. The children were conceived with sperm from the same donor. When Rizzo was researching treatments for autism she learnt that other children, whose mothers used the same reproductive medicine clinic as she did, were diagnosed with autistic disorders.
It turned out that the biological father of these children had two mutations in his MBD1 and SHANK1 genes, which caused the disease in children. The mutations were transmitted to at least 12 children.
Danielle Rizzo went to court accusing the clinic of failing to provide complete information about the donor. However, autism tests are not on the test list for hereditary diseases – they just do not exist. But the woman did manage to get a compensation of $ 250,000, because the clinic did not inform her that the donor had been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and provided false data on his education.
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