Throughout this website we reference several technical terms so we have produced this glossary to aid understanding of these terms.

Biological Factors

A broad term which covers influences of biological origin, such as a person’s genes or hormones. Genetic factors refers explicitly to the influence of genes.

Co-occurring Conditions

Physical, mental or emotional conditions which often co-occur alongside a particular condition (for example, epilepsy with autism).


DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, which is a molecule found in living cells that contains the genetic code. This genetic code, in the form of genes, provides instructions for the growth, development and functioning of living beings including humans.

DNA Test Kit

A kit that can be used to store and extract DNA. For Spectrum 10K, this is a tube in which you spit to provide a saliva sample. The study team can then extract DNA from the test kit.


EHRs stands for Electronic Health Records. These are election versions of someone’s medical history, including diagnoses and medications.

Environmental Factors

The social or physical environment that influences a person’s development, life, and wellbeing. Examples of the physical environment includes workplace services, pollution, and diet. Examples of social environment includes friendships, family and community support.


Factors that influence how a gene is switched on and off. ‘Epi’ means ‘on’ in Greek.


GDPR refers to the UK version of the General Data Protection Regulation and is a law on data protection and privacy put into place to protect the data of UK citizens. The UK GDPR is almost identical to the EU-wide GDPR that was previously in place, with minor technical changes to allows its provisions to work within a UK-only context. The UK GDPR is also designed to provide people with greater control over their personal data.


A stretch of the DNA that provides information for cells. Humans have around 20,000 genes.


Diverse in character or content. Autism is said to be a heterogenous group of conditions as no two autistic people are alike and they differ in the symptoms they experience.