Autism could have been caused by inbreeding between Neanderthals and humans.

Autism has been linked to Neanderthal genetics

Autism has been linked to Neanderthal genetics

A study has revealed that specific genetic variations traced back to Neanderthals are more common in autistic people than those without the condition.

The DNA variants have also been linked to intellectual disability, language delay and language regression - hinting that they can influence a person having a variety of health issues.

The study marks the first time that experts have provided strong evidence that a subset of Neanderthal DNA has led to autism, of which there is no known cause.

Emily Casanova, lead author of the research at Loyola University New Orleans, told PsyPost: "In our study, we've found that autistic people, on average, have more rare Neanderthal variants, not that they have more Neanderthal DNA in general.

"That means that while not all Neanderthal DNA is necessarily influencing autism susceptibility, a subset is."

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