The Genetics of Restricted, Repetitive Behavior: An Inbred Mouse Model
University of Florida
Characteristic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are restricted, repetitive behaviors (RRBs) such as stereotyped movements, compulsions or rituals, and a resistance to change and restricted interests. Little is known about the genetic factors involved in repetitive behaviors, and appropriate animal models for these behaviors could be of use in identifying gene variants associated with RRBs. In this study, Dr. Lewis and colleagues will develop a mouse model of RRBs which will allow them to identify variations in the mouse genome associated with these behaviors. These researchers have previously identified an inbred mouse line that displays both repetitive behaviors (jumping, flipping, and weaving) and restricted behaviors (reduced exploration of the environment). The present research will examine the genetic basis of these behaviors, characterizing the regions of genomic DNA which are associated with these behaviors. This may lead to the identification of gene variants which are involved in the development of RRBs. The examination of genetic variation in a mouse model of RRB should have direct value for clinical genetic studies of ASDs, and aid in our understanding of the underlying biology of this diagnostic feature of autism.