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an autism ribbon

In April of 2021, Emilie Wigdor finished up a paper titled “The female protective effect against autism spectrum disorder” and put it on the pre-print server medRxiv. Wigdor is a Ph.D. student in human genetics at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, and the paper had taken three years to complete. It was also the first paper on which she was first author. She was proud of that, and she took to Twitter to promote the work in an 11-part thread.

Wigdor isn’t particularly active on the platform; she mostly retweets, and she has just hundreds of followers, many of whom are geneticists and researchers like her. A handful of them offered admiring comments in replies to her post. But when the paper was published in the peer-reviewed Cell Genomics in June 2022 and she put out a similar 11-tweet thread on 8 June, the response was quite different.

This time, one of the first replies was from an autistic researcher in Australia, who tagged Ann Memmott and pointed to Wigdor’s thread as...