Unmet Need: Effective strategies to predict Autism Susceptibility.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased over ten-fold over the past several decades, and appears predominantly associated with paternal transmission. Although genetics is anticipated to be a component of ASD, etiology, environmental epigenetics is now thought to be an important factor. There is a need to identify epigenetic biomarkers in sperm to effectively determine autism susceptibility.
The Technology: Identification of DNA methylation signature in sperm.
Researchers at WSU have identified a series of differentially methylated regions (DMR) in sperm that can serve as a potential biomarker to identify men at a higher risk of having offspring with autism susceptibility. Researchers identified this unique DNA methylation signature by comparing methylation patterns in sperm from fathers with autistic children to those of men who do not have autistic children. They further identified the genomic features and genes associated with the DMRs.
• Clinical diagnostic laboratories and research laboratories.
• Could be used in assisted reproduction setting.
• Would allow improved clinical management and early treatment options to be considered.