More than 70 different genes have been connected to the development of autism, researchers have discovered.

Academics believe that this breakthrough could lead to life-changing new tests and treatments for autism.

Data shows that one in 100 children in the UK are impacted by Autism or Asperger’s, a 10 per cent increase since 1992.

Medication can help people manage the condition, however there is currently no cure, the research has reported.

During the study, the team of scientists examined the genes of 150,000 people to assess how likely they are to develop autism.

They detected 72 genetic variants that are ‘strongly’ associated with Autism. In addition, they found 252 genes that could possibly be linked to the condition.

Top author Dr Joseph Buxbaum said: “We know that many genes, when mutated, contribute to autism.

“In this unprecedented study, we were able to bring together multiple type of mutations in a wide array of samples to get a much richer sense of the genes and genetic architecture involved in autism.”

He added: “This is significant in that we now have more insights as to the biology of the brain changes that underline autism and more potential targets for treatment.”

According to the study, genomes associated with autism impact mature neurons, preventing them from dividing.

Dr Buxbaum said: “A precision medicine approach will likely be needed for autism that is based on a person’s genes.

“People should be genetically tested for autism to help develop new medicines that benefit families and individuals at risk for autism spectrum disorder.”

He evaluated: “The more we can advance therapeutics, based on the targets identified in these genetic findings, the more people we have the potential to help, which could have a significant impact in addressing autism and developmental delay worldwide.”

The study has been published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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