Researchers from 13 institutions would worldwide believe they have made a breakthrough in understanding what causes autism - a clear cut case of an autism specific gene.
An analysis of 6,176 children with autism spectrum disorder, researchers found 15 had a CHD8 mutation and all these cases had similar characteristics in appearance and issues with sleep disturbance and gastrointestinal problems. How is 15 out of 6,176 a clear cut case? To find out, they went to zebra fish.
They disrupted the CHD8 gene in the fish and the fish developed large heads and wide set eyes. They then fed the fish fluorescent pellets and found that the fish had problems discarding food waste and were constipated.