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Enhanced Spatial Learning Ability in Mice Engineered to Carry an Autism Mutation Autism is a neurobiological disorder with symptoms that include impaired social interactions and repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behavior. Around 10 percent of autistic people also have an extraordinary skill or talent such as greatly enhanced memory. Mutations in the gene for neuroligin 3, an adhesion protein that connects brain cells, have been associated with autism. One of these mutations is called R451C because the altered gene encodes a protein with an amino acid substitution: a cysteine (C) instead of an arginine (R) in position 451. In 2007, Katsuhiko Tabuchi and his colleagues introduced the R451C mutation into the neuroligin 3 gene of mice. The researchers discovered that the genetically modified mice had impaired social behavior and superior spatial learning ability. Spatial learning in mice is tested with a water maze, which consists of a small platform submerged a bit below the surface or a pool of water so it is invisible to a swimming mouse. Mice do not particularly enjoy swimming, so they try to locate the hidden platform as quickly as they can. When tested again later, they remember the platform’s location by checking visual cues around the edge or the pool. How quickly they remember is a measure of their spatial learning ability. FIGURE 15.14 shows some or Tabuchi’s result. FIGURE 15.14 Spatial learning ability in mice . Mice with a mutation in neuroligin 3 ( R451C ) were tested for learning performance: as compared with unmodified (wild-type) mice. Which mice learned faster the second time around?

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Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332

Solutions

Chapter
Section
BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332
Chapter 15, Problem 3DAA
Textbook Problem
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Enhanced Spatial Learning Ability in Mice Engineered to Carry an Autism Mutation Autism is a neurobiological disorder with symptoms that include impaired social interactions and repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behavior. Around 10 percent of autistic people also have an extraordinary skill or talent such as greatly enhanced memory.

Mutations in the gene for neuroligin 3, an adhesion protein that connects brain cells, have been associated with autism. One of these mutations is called R451C because the altered gene encodes a protein with an amino acid substitution: a cysteine (C) instead of an arginine (R) in position 451.

In 2007, Katsuhiko Tabuchi and his colleagues introduced the R451C mutation into the neuroligin 3 gene of mice. The researchers discovered that the genetically modified mice had impaired social behavior and superior spatial learning ability.

Spatial learning in mice is tested with a water maze, which consists of a small platform submerged a bit below the surface or a pool of water so it is invisible to a swimming mouse. Mice do not particularly enjoy swimming, so they try to locate the hidden platform as quickly as they can. When tested again later, they remember the platform’s location by checking visual cues around the edge or the pool. How quickly they remember is a measure of their spatial learning ability. FIGURE 15.14 shows some or Tabuchi’s result.

Chapter 15, Problem 3DAA, Enhanced Spatial Learning Ability in Mice Engineered to Carry an Autism Mutation Autism is a

FIGURE 15.14 Spatial learning ability in mice. Mice with a mutation in neuroligin 3 (R451C) were tested for learning performance: as compared with unmodified (wild-type) mice.

Which mice learned faster the second time around?

Summary Introduction

To determine: The mice that learned faster in the second time test.

Concept introduction: Autism is a neurological disorder in which patients have impaired social interactions and repetitive, stereotyped behaviors. The condition appears due to mutation in the gene neuroligin 3, and an adhesion protein that connects the brain cells together. The mutation causes substitution of a cysteine (C) amino acid by arginine (R) in position 451.

Explanation of Solution

The experiment was performed to test the learning ability of the autism mice. The mice were mutated for R451C in neuroligin 3 gene by the researcher K. and it was found that the mutated mice had impaired social behaviors and superior spatial learning abilities. Spatial learning ability of mice were experimented with a water maze in which a small platform was little bit submerged below the water surface so that it cannot be observable to the swimming mice.

Mice do not prefer to stay in water. Therefore, as quickly as possible they find the hidden platform by remembering the spatial visual cues...

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