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A Genetic Study of Mathematical Talent and Asperger’s Syndrome 

Autism spectrum disorders often involve impaired empathy and intact or talent in systemizing. Research has suggested a link between talent in systemizing and the likelihood of autism in a family. This suggests that one of the genes involved in autism may be the gene (or genes) that underlie systemizing talent. This research attempted to identify genes associated with a well-defined example of systemizing talent, mathematical giftedness. Researchers obtained DNA from large families where there are many gifted mathematicians, and re-tested any significant regions of the DNA in detail in a sample of mathematicians vs. non-mathematicians. Researchers also studied DNA of people with Asperger Syndrome (AS) to see if the genes for systemizing are implicated in the genes for AS. Genetic research may improve early diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions.