Genetics and Autism

Conducted by: Emory University Department of Human Genetics, Marcus Autism Center, and Emory Autism Center


The purpose of this research project is to learn more about possible genetic causes of autism in families that have only one child affected with a known Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Families have an opportunity to contribute to our growing knowledge of ASDs by participating, which involves a diagnostic assessment of the child with ASD, parent interviews, completion of questionnaires about family members, and giving a blood sample. A telephone screening will be done to determine eligibility.

Benefits: The family will receive a research summary of the results of the no-cost evaluation of the child with an ASD that includes information about the child’s diagnosis, cognition and adaptive behavior, and recommendations for intervention.  The assessment team typically consists of psychologists and a developmental pediatrician with consultation from geneticists.

Eligibility Criteria

  • One child (age 4-17) with a KNOWN diagnosis of an ASD
  • Child with ASD does NOT have another known genetic condition
  • Both biological parents are available to participate
  • At least one sibling (age 4 and above) is available to participate.  An exception can be made for families with no siblings or siblings who are too young to participate.
  • No other children in the family or extending family members have an ASD
  • All participating family members must be willing to give a blood sample

Location and Time

Research participation requires two appointments. One appointment requires one parent and the child with an ASD and lasts approximately 6 hours with a break for lunch.  The other requires the entire family to be present and lasts approximately 2.5 hours. Appointments take place at the Marcus Autism Center, Emory Human Genetics and/or the Emory Autism Center.

Contact Information

Tracy Cermak, M.A.       
(404) 304-0513         

Marcus Autism Center
1920 Briarcliff Road
Atlanta, GA 30329