Sussex Psychosis Research interest Group (SPRiG)

ASC and psychosis: Chromosome 15q11-13

University of Cambridge


The association between autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) and psychosis: Investigating the importance of chromosome 15q11-13


There is evidence to suggest there may be a common genetic mechanism to autism and psychosis. Chromosome 15 is of particular interest. This study is led by the University of Cambridge, but is also currently running in the Sussex area.

Research objectives:

  • To confirm that (maternal) 15q11-13 CNVs occur more frequently than chance in people with ASCs and psychosis. 
  • To explore the different autistic features that may be associated with 15q11-13 CNVs, following from work by Shao et al (2003).
  • To examine whether there is an increased history of mood and/or psychotic illness on the maternal side in people with 15q11-13 CNVs.
  • To examine the impact of adverse life events on the development of psychosis in people with 15q11-13 CNVs.
  • To track the course of psychosis in people with ASCs.


The study utilises a cross-sectional design. Two groups, defined by the presence or absence of chromosome 15q11-13 copy number variations (CNVs), will be formed naturally and compared to one another.

Alongside a blood test for genetic analysis, participants will also be asked to complete a family interview, recent life events interview, measures of mental health, neuropsychological measures, and measures of personality.

Participants will be aged 16 years and above, have English as their first language, have a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), and have experience of a psychotic mental health problem. 


For more information about this study, please use the following contact details.


Local contact:

Rick Fraser (Principal Investigator, Sussex)



University of Cambridge contact:

Felicity Larson (Principal Investigator, Cambridge)

Telephone: 01223 746153