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Families comprising many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may carry a dominant predisposing mutation. Our aim was to use rigorous phenotyping of the Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) in large multiplex ASD families to identify endophenotypes of the BAP for future genetic studies. We evaluated ASD/BAP features using standardised tests and a semi-structured interview to assess social, intellectual, executive and adaptive functioning in 109 individuals, including two large multiplex families (Family A: 30; Family B: 34) and an independent sample of small families (n=45). Our protocol identified four psychological endophenotypes of the BAP that were evident in both samples, and showed high sensitivity (97%) and specificity (82%) for individuals classified with the BAP. The patterns of inheritance of these endophenotypes varied in the two large families, supporting their utility for identifying genes in autism.

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