A new study has shown that autistic siblings show more differences than similarities.

Autistic Siblings Show More Differences than SimilaritiesBecause kids with an older brother or sister with autism are at a higher risk for the disorder scientists thought that this heightened risk was due to shared genes.

But a new study sequenced whole genomes from multiple families with at least two children from each family on the spectrum.  Researchers found that only a third of the siblings shared the same gene variations associated with autism.

“We knew that there were many differences in autism, but our recent findings firmly nail that down,” said Stephen Scherer of the University of Toronto and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, who led the study published in the journal Nature Medicine. “We believe that each child with autism is like a snowflake — unique from the other.”

In 69% of the participants researchers found that paired siblings on the spectrum had different autism related mutations.

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Autistic Siblings Show More Differences than Similarities