A new study has found that a gene that guides the earliest social behaviors could be key to understanding autism. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, looked at a gene called CNTNAP2, which is known to be involved in social behavior.
The researchers found that mice with a mutation in the CNTNAP2 gene showed abnormalities in social behavior, including increased anxiety and avoidance of social interaction. The findings suggest that the CNTNAP2 gene could be a key player in the development of autism.
Previous studies have implicated other genes in the development of autism, but the new study is the first to suggest that a gene involved in social behavior could be a key factor. The findings could help to improve our understanding of the condition and lead to better treatments.
A new study has found that a gene that guides the earliest social behaviors in mammals could be key to understanding autism.
The gene, known as ShANK3, is critical for the development of social behaviors in mammals, including humans. Mutations in the gene have been linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the new study suggest that these mutations may cause problems with the development of social behaviors.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Stanford University School of Medicine, found that mice that lacked the gene had problems with social behaviors. The mice avoided social interactions, and when they did interact with other mice, they did not show the usual patterns of social behavior.
The researchers also found that the mice lacked a brain structure that is important for social behavior. This structure, known as the lateral amygdala, is critical for the processing of social information.
“Our findings suggest that ShANK3 is required for the development of the brain structure that is necessary for social behavior,” said study co-author Patrick Roesler, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. “These results provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying ASD and could lead to new treatments for this devastating disorder.”
The findings are published in the journal Nature.