MAR 07, 2017 10:10 AM PST

Can animals have autism?


While the answer to this question is most definitely not a clear yes or no, scientists in China have begun the investigations with several experiments on macaques, isolating one of the genes that has been associated with human autism and inserting it into the primates. The scientists were on the lookout for unusual behaviors, and noted that the macaques with the "autism gene" did indeed behave peculiarly, running around in their cages in circles for long periods of time and avoiding social interactions with other macaques. These behaviors such as nervous fidgeting and social awkwardness are traits that humans with autism often exhibit.

Needless to say, determining the genetic link with autism is a big ambition. According to a study published in Nature, autism has a vast array of symptoms and types, and researchers think that at least 100 genes play a part. Much work still needs to be done to prove that the inserted gene does in fact have a consistent impact on the primates in regards to autism-like characteristics. Researchers hope that the studies with the macaques will open up new ways to test treatments and investigate the biology of autism that may help humans.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 03, 2018
Videos
NOV 03, 2018
Why Does Your Tooth Hurt Biting into Candies?
After Halloween, eating so much candy and not following good hygiene protocols may cause cavities. However, what makes chomping onto a chocolate bar (or ot...
NOV 07, 2018
Videos
NOV 07, 2018
The Threat of Neglected Tropical Diseases
Did you know that around one billion people suffer from a neglected tropical disease?...
NOV 13, 2018
Technology
NOV 13, 2018
Here's Why Hydrogen-Powered Cars Haven't Become Mainstream
The automobile industry today is still dominated by gasoline-powered vehicles, but electric cars like those from Tesla are gaining a lot of traction in the...
NOV 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 24, 2018
These Are Some of the Most Extreme Dads in the Animal Kingdom
Being a dad isn’t always smooth sailing, but compared to a plethora of different species in the animal kingdom, human dads have it easy. The hardhead...
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Tattoos
Contracting an infection when getting a tattoo is always a major concern. Consumers should be aware of the risk of developing infections with bloodborne pa...
NOV 25, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 25, 2018
Why Does E. Coli Make us Sick?
  Escherichia coli, or E. coli refer to a diverse group of of bacteria commonly found in the lower intestine of warm blooded animals. While E. coli ga...
Loading Comments...