It's a mystery that researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute are looking to crack. Why are boys five times more likely than girls to be autistic?

As Christine Wu Nordahl, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis MIND Institute explains it: A genetic mutation in girls has more hurdles to go over than boys.

"It takes a greater genetic hit for a girl to get autism than it does for a boy," Nordahl said. 

Now the MIND Institute is looking for participants to help test a theory.

"It's a theory, so we think of it as the Female Protective Effect," she said. 

Nordahl says girls, who may hold the key to unlocking autism, have been greatly understudied.

This research looks to correct that and unlock the potential of a young female mind.