Monday, November 5, 2018

New mouse model shows brain effects of autism gene

         At Columbia University, a study is being performed on mice to determine the effects of the autism gene on the brain.  The gene that was found responsible for the defects is called HNRNPU. HNRNPU is known to bind cellular machinery that transcribes genes  Mutations in the HNRNPU gene can lead to intellectual disability, language deficits and seizures. Mice lacking the gene were linked to autism and showed drastic change in behavior.
       Researchers performed an experiment consisting of a control group and a mutant to notice the difference among the mice with a single copy of HNRNPU. The mutant mice were found to be much smaller and they cried less when separated from their mothers when compared to the control group. Numerous genes in the mutants were found to be altered in expression when compared to the control. The altered genes are known to be involved in epilepsy and intellectual disability.
     I found this article interesting because autism can change a persons life completely. As research is being performed on the effects of autism, we will approach a solution in the future to correct the altered gene or reduce the effects in an individual. While Dugger and her colleagues have not analyzed the data for autism genes, there is a correlation between the HNRNPU gene and expression of genes.

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