Medical and behavioral information along with numerous DNA samples have been collected from volunteers by the SPARK Autism Study for gene research.
"Simply by saying that we need 50,000 people with autism to be registered, we're acknowledging that there's so much more to know," researcher Latha Soorya said.
"And we need all of these people in this massive database," she added.
Having studied autism spectrum disorders for 25 years, Soorya explained that a study of such scale will allow researchers to answer exactly what the spectrum comprises of and why people fall on it.
"That's gonna speed up research in a way that we don't have the ability to do now," Soorya noted.
Previously, researchers knew of only one or two genes that played a role in autism. To date, 50 genes have been identified.
Researchers believe that by the end of the study, 300 genes may be identified, which will provide a better understanding of how genetics, biology and environment all play a role.
SPARK researchers continue to look for participants, and those interested may request a free sample collection kit to mail to the organization at sparkforautism.org.
Those who participate will additionally have access to care and support groups where they can share information and learn about new research developments.
Autism study seeks volunteers for gene research