Increasing or reducing the levels of the UBE3A gene, which is associated with autism and autism-related syndromes, results in altered patterns of synaptic pruning — a process that snips away brain cell connections.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
The map, by far the largest one of an entire brain to date, contains 130,000 neurons and 53 million synapses.
The map diagrams more than half a million neuronal connections in the first complete connectome of Drosophila and holds clues about which brain architectures best support learning.
Work in fruit flies has helped Paul decode a neurodevelopmental syndrome in children caused by rare de novo variants in the gene PPFIA3.
Dozens of rare mutations of unknown effects seen in autistic people cause significant changes to fruit flies, suggesting they are linked to the condition.
Over the past century, scientists have used a variety of animal models to advance their understanding of the developing brain and autism.
In the past two decades, some autism researchers have turned to simple animals, such as roundworms, fruit flies and zebrafish, for their investigations. Others have sought answers from experiments with frogs, birds and even octopuses.
Researchers are increasingly turning to simple animals to learn about autism biology and find leads for new drugs.
Fruit flies with low expression of a gene linked to neurodevelopment have disrupted sleep, poor memory and altered social behavior.
A new wiring diagram of the fruit fly brain is the most complex ever created.