March 27, 2017

Child Therapy: Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness Month is right around the corner in the month of April! World Autism Awareness Day is Sunday, April 2, 2017, and Autism Speaks encourages people to show support by wearing blue, and sharing personal stories across social media using #LIUB.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we want to shine the spotlight on the world’s largest autism genome sequencing programing, MSSNG.

What is MSSNG?

MSSNG is a research project funded by Autism Speaks. MSSNG is pronounced missing, which has symbolic meaning towards the research being developed. The omitted letters in “MSSNG” represent the missing information about autism that this research program hopes to discover.

Why are they researching genes?

A major question parents wonder is why their child developed autism. There is research that indicates heredity plays a part in Autism. The study’s aim is to decode the genetic elements involved in autism, and give families more answers.

How is the research conducted?

MSSNG collects the genetic makeup of 10,000 families affected by autism. Using a system called whole genome sequencing, researchers are able to observe the genes of all family members to decipher mutations or genetic typos associated with autism.

What is the goal of MSSNG?

The goal of MSSNG is to determine the different genetic makeup associated with autism. Ultimately this information will allow for an early detection of autism, immediate implementation of early intervention, and new development of medicine.

What have they found?

Researches using the MSSNG genomic database have identified 61 genetic variations causing a risk of autism. Researches have associated several of these variations with other medical conditions often accompanying autism.

Will research continue?

Yes! MSSNG has collaborated with Verily (formerly Google Life sciences) to store the MSSNG database on Google cloud and offer a search engine to researchers worldwide. Therefore, multiple researchers can use the same sample to discover more information regarding autism.

Why is this important?

The discoveries made by MSSNG can help develop more effective and individualized treatment for individuals with autism.

Read more about the findings of MSSNG by visiting their website.

If you would like to get involved with Autism Speaks, sign up for the Chicago Autism Speaks walk here. The walk takes place at Soldier Field on May 13, 2017. Walk and fundraise with friends and family to enrich the lives of individuals with autism.



  1. (2014, June 09). Meet the Director of the Autism Speaks MSSNG Program. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrS5UuZ2zYI&t=2s

Autism Speaks. (2012, May 22). Retrieved March 22, 2017, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/research

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