Autism is a growing concern in neuroscience. With the latest numbers at 1 in 68 children in the United States being impacted by autism, research to find a possible treatment or a cause is moving at a fast pace. A team in Korea recently discovered that the gene responsible for Down syndrome symptoms is also involved in autism. In Korea, the rate of children with autism is higher than the US and Europe, at 1 in 38 children. The research used a zebrafish model to study the genetic activity.
In both Down syndrome and autism, social interaction is awkward. The research team used CRISPR editing to look at the DYRK1A gene, which causes Downs syndrome. They then studied the social behavior of the fish, who are known to form attachments and swim in schools. Social behavior of the fish was consistent with autistic social behavior. By better understanding the genetics of autism, hopefully, treatments can be found that are more precise to the condition.