The Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is among 21 research sites selected by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative for the largest-ever genetics study on autism.
The study, called SPARK, will collect information and DNA for genetic analysis from 50,000 individuals and their families in order to understand the causes of autism and to accelerate the discovery of treatments and new ways to support people with this brain development disorder.
"One of the greatest challenges for researchers is the sheer number of gene variants associated with autism, combined with the tremendous variability in the symptoms of autism," said Robert T. Schultz, director of CHOP's Center for Autism Research. "Identifying genes is critically important for developing new therapies feor autism."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder.
Anyone interested in learning more about SPARK or in participating can visit www.SPARKforAutism.org.