Autism spectrum disorder encompasses a group of neurodevelopment disorders. Patients usually exhibit deficiencies in social interaction, stereotyped repetitive behaviors, anxiety, and emotional difficulties. In recent years, the incidence of autism has continued to rise globally, and there is no effective treatment.
Dr. QIU Zilong's group and Dr. SUN Qiang's group from the Institute of Neuroscience (ION), Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology (CEBSIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences, constructed a monkey model overexpressing the human autism-related gene MECP2. The monkeys exhibited autism-like behavior. Furthermore, germ-line transmission of the exogenous transgene to offspring was successful, as assayed by genetic and behavioral tests.
The first generation of transgenic monkeys to manifest human MECP2 duplication was generated in 2011. The second generation of these monkeys, who were born in 2014, also exhibited autism-like behaviors, demonstrating a genetic heritage of MECP2.
This is the world's first nonhuman primate model to show the effects of autism and will play an important role in studying the pathology of the condition and exploring effective intervention and treatment.
This study was published in Nature on Feb. 4, 2016.
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