Turning on a gene later in life can restore typical behavior in mice.
Autism has diverse genetic causes, most of which are still unknown. About 1 percent of people with autism are missing a gene called Shank3, which is critical for brain development. Without this gene, individuals develop typical autism symptoms including repetitive behavior and avoidance of social interactions.
In a study of mice, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reverse some of those behavioral symptoms by turning the gene back on later in life, allowing the brain to properly rewire itself.