Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

New mouse models of autism highlight need for standardized tests

By Sarah C P Williams Most laboratory mice, when meeting new cagemates, will sniff the strangers thoroughly. But the mice in Matthew Anderson’s lab instead sit alone, licking their paws repetitively. They ignore other mice, avoid new toys and rarely make noise. Taken together, the abnormalities closely resemble the behavioral symptoms seen in people with autism, a disorder that has been proven difficult to accurately recapitulate in animal models—until recently. “When I first started working on this, I really wondered whether we’d be able to study autism in a mouse,” says Anderson, a neuroscientist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical 


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