Autism and prodigy share a common genetic link

Science Daily

April 22, 2015

Source:  Ohio State University

A new study in the journal Human Heredity found that child prodigies share some of the same genetic variations on chromosome 1 with those who have autism. In a previous study, co-author Ruthsatz and a colleague had found that half of the prodigies in their sample had a family member or a first- or second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis.

According to Dr. Harold Levinson, this and previous studies may help validate the authors’ stated hypothesis that “Prodigies seem to have some protective genes that are saving them from the deficits associated with autism and only allowing the talent you see in savants to shine through.” And that these genes are associated with working memory, appearing higher in both groups, but exceptionally so in prodigies.
Importantly, Levinson emphasizes that gifted or “savant” functioning occurs in normal individuals, albeit often viewed as a phenomenon amidst the retarded, autistic , etc. Thus diverse mechanism and genes may trigger savant capabilities.

About Dr. Harold Levinson
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit:

Source: c

Image courtesy of Hyena Reality/


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