Genetically modified monkeys created to help scientists study autism

The use of monkeys in medical research is controversial, but researchers say that many attempts to study human brain disorders in mice fail because their brains are so different Photograph: Karin Lohberger/ Getty Images Genetically modified (GM) monkeys that develop symptoms of autism have been created to help scientists discover treatments for the condition. The macaques carry a genetic fault that causes a rare disorder in humans called MeCP2 duplication syndrome. This produces a wide range of medical conditions, some of which mirror those seen in autism, such as difficulties with social interactions. Researchers say groups of the GM monkeys could be used to identify brain circuits involved in common autistic behaviours and to test new treatments designed to alleviate the symptoms. Because the monkeys pass the genetic defects on…


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