A significant new study examining some of the potential causes of autism has been published in The Lancet medical journal.
The research suggests that autism and four other conditions share common genetic risk factors.
Researchers looked at the genetic codes of 33,000 people and found that versions of four genes appeared to increase the odds of five conditions: autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder.
Responding to the findings, Carol Povey, Director of the Centre for Autism at The National Autistic Society, said:
This research marks an important step in improving our understanding of autism and its complex causes. The study confirms that there is no single gene responsible for autism. It is thought to be the result of many different underlying physical and genetic factors. More research needs to be done before any concrete conclusions can be drawn about the causes and what this might mean for future developments, so it will be interesting to see how this research is built on to further enhance our knowledge of the condition.
The most important thing is that we work to ensure people with autism receive the support they need to reach their full potential.
You can read more about our views on the causes of autism here.