Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) encompass a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders resulting from the complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Thanks to the chromosome microarray analysis (CMA) in clinical practice, the accurate identification and characterization of submicroscopic deletions/duplications (copy number variants, CNVs) associated with ASD was made possible. However, the widely acknowledged excess of males on the autism spectrum reflects on a paucity of CMA studies specifically focused on females with ASD (f-ASD). In this framework, we aim to evaluate the frequency of causative CNVs in a single-center cohort of idiopathic f-ASD. Among the 90 f-ASD analyzed, we found 20 patients with one or two potentially pathogenic CNVs, including those previously associated with ASD (located at 16p13.2 16p11.2, 15q11.2, and 22q11.21 regions). An exploratory genotype/phenotype analysis revealed that the f-ASD with causative CNVs had statistically significantly lower restrictive and repetitive behaviors than those without CNVs or with non-causative CNVs. Future work should focus on further understanding of f-ASD genetic underpinnings, taking advantage of next-generation sequencing technologies, with the ultimate goal of contributing to precision medicine in ASD.
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