The Australian Autism Biobank is aiding our knowledge and understanding of the autism spectrum and co-occurring conditions. It contains Australia’s largest collection of biological, behavioural, environmental and medical information of children on the autism spectrum and their families. A total of 4,500 biological samples, as well as behavioural and questionnaire data are stored within the Australian Autism Biobank. Participants were mainly primary school-aged children.
In 2020-21, Autism CRC commissioned the generation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) data for more than 1,500 participants. Initial sequencing has been carried out on DNA samples from 437 families (children on the spectrum, non-autistic siblings, mothers and fathers) who participated in the Australian Autism Biobank between 2014 and 2018.
This page includes a breakdown of participant numbers, sex, and sample collected, a link to the applications page and the latest publications from research projects using Biobank data and samples.
Using the Australian Autism Biobank
For researchers to access the Australian Autism Biobank, they need to complete an application process and be approved by the Autism CRC Access Committee. You can find out how to apply, and what data and samples are available, on the application process page.
The Australian Autism Biobank has approved a variety of projects across different research areas relating to autism including better and earlier autism diagnosis (including subtyping), motor development, sensory subtyping, behavioural characteristics of females on the spectrum and a range of co-occurring conditions and health issues such as anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders and oral health. As research publications and other outputs become available they will be listed below.
Yap, C.X., Henders, A.K., Alvares, G.A. et al. Interactions between the lipidome and genetic and environmental factors in autism. Nat Med 29, 936–949 (2023).
Mathew, N.E., Mallitt, K.A., Masi, A., Katz, T., Walker, A.K., Morris & M.J., Ooi, C.Y. (2022). Dietary intake in children on the autism spectrum is altered and linked to differences in autistic traits and sensory processing styles. Autism Res. doi: 10.1002/aur.2798.
Masi, A., Eapen, V., Lin, P-I., Moni, M.A., Heussler, H. (2022). Sleep difficulties in children on the autism spectrum: Understanding the biological and behavioural attributes leading to sleep difficulties in children on the autism spectrum. Final Report. Brisbane: Autism CRC
Lin, P.I., Masi, A., Moni, M.A., Kummerfeld, S. & Eapen, V. (2022). Genetic pathways associated with sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder. Front Psychiatry. Jul 8;13:904091. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.904091.
Montgomery, A., Masi, A., Silove, N., Karlov, L., Whitehouse, A., Eapen, V. (2022). Defining an immune-mediated subgroup of children in the Australian Autism Biobank [Executive summary]. Final Report. Brisbane: Autism CRC.
Lane, A.E., Simpson, K., Masi, A., Grove, R., Moni, M.A., Montgomery, A., Roberts, J., Silove, N., Whalen, O., Whitehouse, A.J.O. & Eapen, V. (2022). Patterns of sensory modulation by age and sex in young people on the autism spectrum. Autism Research. 1-15. doi: 10.1002/aur.2762.
Alvares, G. A., Mekertichian, K., Rose, F., Vidler, S., & Whitehouse, A. (2022). Dental care experiences and clinical phenotypes in children on the autism spectrum. Special Care in Dentistry. Early online. doi: 10.1111/scd.12746.
Masi, A., Moni, M.A., Azim, S.I., Choi, B., Heussler, H., Lin, P.I., Diaz, A.M. & Eapen, V. (2022). Clinical and behavioural attributes leading to sleep disorders in children on the autism spectrum. Autism Research. 1274-1287. doi: 10.1002/aur.2745.
Waddington, H., Macaskill, E., Whitehouse, A.J.O., Billingham, W. & Alvares, G.A. (2022, April 20). Parent-reported atypical development in the first year of life and age of autism diagnosis. J Autism Dev Disord. doi: 10.1007/s10803-022-05506-1
Masi, A., Eapen, V., Lane, A., Simpson, K. & Roberts, J. (2021). Sensory subtypes in children on the autism spectrum: Final Report. Brisbane: Autism CRC
Yap, C.X., Henders, A.K., Alvares, G.A, Wood, D., Krause, L., Tyson, G.W., Restaudi, R., Wallace, L., McLaren, T., Hansell, N.K., Cleary, D., Grove, R., Hafekost, C., Harun, A., Holdsworth, H., Jellett, R., Khan, F., Lawson, L.P., Leslie, J., Frenk, M.L., Masi, A., Mathew, N.E., Muniandy, M., Nothard, M., Miller, J., Nunn, L., Holtmann, G., Strike, L., de Zubricaray, G. Thompson, P.M., McMahon, K., Wright, M.J., Visscher, P.M., Dawson, P.A., Dissanayake, C., Eapen, V…Gratten, J. (2021, November 11). Autism-related dietary preferences mediate autism-gut microbiome associations. Cell. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2021.10.015
Montgomery, A., Masi, A., Silove, N., Karlov, L., Whitehouse, A., Eapen, V. (2022). Characterising the early presentation of motor difficulties in autistic children. J Autism Dev Disord. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-05333-w
Yap, C.X., Alvares, G.A., Henders, A.K. et al. (2021). Analysis of common genetic variation and rare CNVs in the Australian Autism Biobank. Molecular Autism 12, 12 (2021). doi: 10.1186/s13229-020-00407-5
Alvares, G.A., Australian Autism Biobank team. (2019) Demographic and clinical characteristics of participants in the Australian Autism Biobank [Poster]. International Society for Autism Research 2019 Annual Meeting, 1-4 May, Canada. International Society for Autism Research.
Alvares, G.A., Dawson, P.A., Dissanayake, C., Eapen, V., Gratten, J., Grove, R., Henders, A., Heussler, H., Lawson, L., Masi, A., Raymond, E., Rose, F., Wallace, L., Wray, N.R., Whitehouse, A.J.O.; Australian Autism Biobank team (2018). Study protocol for the Australian Autism Biobank: an international resource to advance autism discovery research. BMC Pediatr. Aug 27;18(1):284. doi: 10.1186/s12887-018-1255-z
For more information, contact the Australian Autism Biobank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autism CRC would like to thank the children on the autism spectrum, their siblings and parents and other children who generously contributed their time and data/samples for the Australian Autism Biobank.
Autism CRC acknowledges and thanks the various sites and their staff who supported the establishment of the Australian Autism Biobank: Telethon Kids Institute, University of NSW, La Trobe University, Mater Medical Research Institute, Institute for Molecular Biosciences: University of Queensland, Wesley Medical Research, University of Western Australia, Pathwest and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Andrew Whitehouse, Dora Abbondanza, Gail Alvares, Erin Beattie, Jolene Berry, Vandhana Bharti, Grace Christou, Dominique Cleary, Paul A Dawson, Melanie De Jong, Cheryl Dissanayake, Kendra Dommisse, Valsamma Eapen, Mira Frenk, Jacob Gratten, Rachel Grove, Claire Hafekost, Maryam Haghiran, Alexis Harun, Nicole Hayes, Anjali Henders, Honey Heussler, Helen Holdsworth, Anneliese Hopkins, Anna Hunt, Rachel Jellett, Feroza Khan, Lauren Lawson, Deborah Lennon, Jodie Leslie, Anne Masi, Nisha Mathew, Tiana McLaren, Candice Michael, Melanie Muniandy, Melissa Neylan, Michaela Nothard, Brooke Peden, Mridu Radhakrishnan, Ola Rajapakse, Emma Raymond, Felicity Rose, Natalie Silove, Ashley Thomson, Leanne Wallace and Naomi Wray.