One of the best, if not the best, blogs on autism science is that run by the Simons Foundation: SFARI.org. One of my favorite science writers is Virginia Hughes, who has written well on autism over many years. So, you can imagine I was pleased to see a recent article was hosted on SFARI and written by Ms. Hughes. But this one touches on a very serious topic: genetic testing. The article (Genetic tests for autism debut amid concerns about validity) is well done, but incomplete. One obvious concern about genetic testing is whether it would be used for prenatal screening.
The tests, as the title of the article suggest, are not completely accurate. Frankly I’m a bit surprised that teams are offering these as a product given the current accuracy attainable. That said, they are being offered. And this ushers in an era that is, to me, frightening. An era when parents might use a test, accurate or not, to terminate a pregnancy based on the possibility of having an autistic child.
By Matt Carey