The Role of Environmental Epigenetics in the Etiology of ASDs

Previous investigations into the etiology of autism spectrum disorders have focused on genetic influences or environmental exposures, independently. The scientific literature has recently recognized the importance of both sources of risk for ASDs, and the potential for gene-environment interaction. However, the mechanism of risk through environmental exposures, and interplay of environmental exposures on gene expression, has largely been unexplored. The purpose of this scientific panel is to present background and new evidence for epigenetic associations with environmental exposures and with ASDs. A primary focus will be on the science of epigenetics, which refers to the many layers of molecular mechanisms that control gene expression, many of which are susceptible to environmental influences. The potential role of epigenetic mechanisms in environmental risk for ASDs, and for mechanisms of gene-environment interaction will be discussed. The panel will specifically cover examples of past and current exposures of concern, mechanisms of epigenetic action, utility of epigenetic signatures for ASD research broadly, and windows of developmental susceptibility–including somatic and germ cell mutations. Speakers will present new findings in epigenetics in ASD and research projects underway, including both human and animal model approaches.
Saturday, May 17, 2014: 1:30 PM-3:30 PM
Imperial A (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
See more of: Scientific Panels
See more of: Epidemiology