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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autistic Mice or Mice with Autism?




Interesting article on autistic mice, or should I say mice with autism?

'Autistic' mice created – and treated - health - 29 September 2011 - New Scientist

A new strain of mice engineered to lack a gene with links to autism displays many of the hallmarks of the condition. It also responds to a drug in the same way as people with autism, which might open the way to new therapies for such people.

It's not the first mouse strain to have symptoms of autism, and previous ones have already been useful models for studying the condition. Daniel Geschwindat the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues tried a fresh approach, however. Rather than simply examining existing strains to identify mice with autistic-like behaviour, they engineered mice to lack a gene calledCntnap2, which had already been implicated in autism. Cntnap2 is the largest gene on the genome, clocking in at 2.5 million bases, and is responsible for regulating brain circuits involved in language and speech.

Geschwind was initially sceptical that the modified mice would display the behaviour typical of autism in humans, because the neural pathways in the two species are thought to be fairly different. "One has to be cautious," he says. "What is an autistic mouse going to look like?"

Full @ http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20984-autistic-mice-created--and-treated.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news


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