Previous studies have claimed that around 80% of autism risk can be found in genes inherited from parents.

Even though it was earlier believed that autism risk was solely linked to maternal genetic factors, a recent study, which aimed to highlight the influence of both parents, found that siblings diagnosed with the condition had a higher likelihood of inheriting the genes from their father rather than their mother.

The findings of the research were published in Cell Genomics.

Scientists from New York's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have been running a two-decade-long research on the genes associated with autism. They have identified thousands of genes, which--if damaged or not working properly--could potentially play a role in a child being born with an autism spectrum disorder.

To gain further insights, they conducted a thorough analysis of the genomes of over 6,000 families, who volunteered to participate in the study. By examining the genetic makeup of these families, they found when two or more children were diagnosed with autism, they were more genetically similar to their father, according to Health Day.

However, it was yet not comprehended how the father's genome had this impact.

"There are children diagnosed with autism who are high functioning," said Ivan Iossifov, an associate professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and senior author of the study, in a media release. "They have a completely productive life, although they have some minor troubles in social interactions, as most of us do. But also, there are children diagnosed with autism who never learn to speak, and they have definitely a difficult life."

One possible hypothesis is that certain fathers may carry genetic mutations that have a protective effect against autism. However, these protective mutations may not be transmitted to their children.

On the other hand, it is also possible that fathers could pass on mutations that cause the mother's immune system to mistakenly target and attack the developing embryo. However, this idea does suggest that the immune system's reactions in the mother's body may play a role in the development of autism in some cases.

This finding not only uncovers an additional factor contributing to autism cases, but also raises another question: could other health conditions follow similar genetic patterns?

"Our future research is exciting," Iossifov said in the news release. "If one of those theories or two of them prove to be true, then it opens different treatment strategies, which can, in the future, affect quite a lot of families."

A new study has found that common ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems and upper respiratory infections in young children may indicate the subsequent risk of autism. pixabay