International Mammalian Genome Society

The 16th International Mouse Genome Conference (2002)


J Nadler
University of North Carolina

Magnuson T
University of North Carolina

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social deficits, abnormalities in communication and stereotypic ritualized behaviors.   The severity of these behaviors varies widely from patient to patient and can even be found to some extent in unaffected family members.  The spectrum of autistic behaviors makes it an ideal problem to address in the mouse model system.  We have undertaken a large scale behavioral and expression analysis of 20 inbred mouse strains, as well as five previously reported targeted disruptions.  Animals will be examined for social preference, social communication and cognitive flexibility.  Microarray analysis is also performed on several brain regions thought to be involved in social behaviors in each of these strains.  By combining these two approaches, we hope to associate expression profiles with complex behaviors to begin to understand the molecular basis of autistic behavior.

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