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Discover SPARK

How does SPARK analyze study participants DNA?

See the journey your DNA takes from saliva sample to genetic results.

To use the graphic, click the yellow arrows to go to the next step and the ‘more info’ buttons for more details.

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See the journey your DNA takes from saliva sample to genetic results.

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To use the graphic, click the yellow arrows to go to the next step and the 'MORE INFO' buttons for more details.

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Number one

Send saliva sample to the lab

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Duration: 1-2 weeks
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Number two

Scientists isolate DNA from saliva

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Duration: 2 weeks
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Where: external facility
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DNA samples are gathered for analysis

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Duration: 2-4 months
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Where: external facility
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DNA is read letter by letter, a process known as sequencing

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Sequencing
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Duration: 9 months
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Where: external facility
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SPARK receives sequence data from an external lab and analyzes the data, searching for changes in the DNA sequence

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Sequencing
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Duration: 4-6 months
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Where: SPARK
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Scientists narrow down the list of DNA changes to genes or regions that are on SPARK’s gene list. Genes on this list have been linked to autism in multiple unrelated people.

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DNA Genes
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Duration: 3-6 months
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Where: SPARK
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At this point, there are 3 possible outcomes

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If a gene change is found that is linked to autism, a clinical genetics lab reanalyzes your DNA and confirms the result.

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DNA Genes
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Duration: 3 months
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Where: external facility
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In some cases, a participant has a gene change that may be linked to autism but hasn’t yet met SPARK’s criteria.

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Additional experts review the results. If there is enough data to link the gene to autism, a clinical genetics lab reanalyzes your DNA and confirms the result.

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Duration: The SPARK gene list is evaluated every 3 months
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In some cases, no autism-related gene changes are found.

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