Scientists successful in creating autism like traits in mice

March 22nd, 2011 - 10:00 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

New York, Mar 22 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Scientists have successfully created autism-like traits in mice. The scientists managed to achieve the feat after mutating just a single gene.

The research was undertaken by researchers from the Duke University and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They report that the study could eventually lead to the cure of the condition. Cure for the disease has eluded scientists for years.

The scientists mutated the shank3 gene which has been implicated in human autism. The findings of the study were published in the online journal Nature.

The senior author of the study, Guoping Feng who is a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, wrote that, “We now have a very robust model with a known cause for autistic-like behaviors… We can figure out the neural circuits responsible for these behaviors, which could lead to novel targets for treatment.”

The scientists predict that the genetically altered mice would provide the means to administer autism drugs once they become available. That way, scientists would not have to test such a drug on humans. The scientists however admitted that previous research involving animals provided little or no beneficial treatments for human beings.

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