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Genomic studies to date in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have largely focused on newly arising mutations that disrupt protein coding sequence and strongly influence risk. We evaluate the contribution of noncoding regulatory variation across the size and frequency spectrum through whole genome sequencing of 519 ASD cases, their unaffected sibling controls, and parents. Cases carry a small excess of de novo (1.02-fold) noncoding variants, which is not significant after correcting for paternal age. Assessing 51,801 regulatory classes, no category is significantly associated with ASD after correction for multiple testing. The strongest signals are observed in coding regions, including structural variation not detected by previous technologies and missense variation. While rare noncoding variation likely contributes to risk in neurodevelopmental disorders, no category of variation has impact equivalent to loss-of-function mutations. Average effect sizes are likely to be smaller than that for coding variation, requiring substantially larger samples to quantify this risk.

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