This week’s podcast focuses on two studies that help illustrate why studying individuals with a specific genetic mutation, or animal models with a particular genetic mutation, are so important. MSSM researchers focused on individuals with FOXP1 Syndrome, which has a high rate of autism and could be the focus of future treatments. In the meantime, researchers at UTSW, led by ASF fellow Christine Ochoa Escamilla, identified a particular brain chemical responsible for changes in brain activity following mutations of chromosome 16. About 1% of people with autism have mutations in this chromosome. Application of a chemical to counteract this chemical then led to improvements in brain activity, opening up the door to new drug targets that affect some of the more severely affected individuals with ASD.
Here are the references: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29088697