Scientists have successfully used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to lessen some symptoms of autism in mice. The mice have a form of fragile X syndrome, which is the most common-known single-gene cause of autism.
The study was done at the University of California, Berkeley, and its results were published this week in the monthly journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
In the study, researchers specifically were able to curb obsessive behavior in the mice. Prior to treatment, the mice were obsessively digging. Afterward, that behavior was subdued. Researchers think that a similar approach can be taken using the CRISPR-Gold technique to treat other autism spectrum disorders.
There are currently no cures for autism. This is the first case where researchers were able to edit a gene for autism to offer relief from one of autism’s symptoms.