Mission and Organization

Strong worldwide interest in finding the origins of and new treatments for autism is leading to a better understanding of this complex behavioral disorder. Studies already implicate at least one gene and provide clues about neural development that will stimulate further work. Leading researchers agree that a bank of autism materials--cell lines and DNA, collected and developed from a thoroughly studied and well-documented group of families--is critical. A resource built with the highest diagnostic standards and very best biomaterials is the best route to identifying a genetic mechanism underlying autism through association with known genetic markers. This knowledge will lead to more effective treatments for autism.

The State of New Jersey funded the initiation of a genetic resource to support the study of autism in families where more than one child is affected or where one child is affected and one demonstrates another significant and related developmental disorder. This resource now receives continuing support from the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. An open bank of anonymously collected materials documented by a detailed clinical diagnosis forms the basis of this growing database of information about the disease. The Autism Resource is housed at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in New Jersey, which holds the world's largest collection of human cells for use in genetic research and where much of the standard technology of culturing, storing, and distributing cells has been developed.

The Autism Research Resource has been built through a full collaboration between Coriell and clinical services at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical school, New Brunswick campus, which provides clinical information and diagnosis. All clinical interviews were conducted face-to-face. Further multiplex families will be added to the resource in a continuing program of diagnosis and Repository development.

The Autism Research Resource includes cell lines and DNA from families with more than one child who meets criteria for autistic disorder. An additional group of families is included in which monozygotic twins meet all criteria for autistic disorder. Also included in this resource, however, are families in which one child meets the criteria for autistic disorder while another child displays behavior with a broader phenotype of falling within the spectrum of autistic disorder. A small number of multiplex families is included in which one child meets all criteria for autistic disorder and a second has a behavioral disorder falling outside the autism spectrum.

Pedigrees are provided for each family. Where clinical statements are noted for individuals other than the affected children and parent(s), these should be judged as reported. All family relationships have been verified by confirming the molecular identities, established using a panel of six microsatellite markers.

A full Glossary of Terms used in clinical diagnosis of the participating families is available.

Contact Information 

Email: customerservice@coriell.org 
Phone: (800) 752-3805

General Inquiries 

Email: Autism@coriell.org 
Phone: (800) 752-3805