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A human model for autism

The CRISPR-​Cas gene scissors enable researchers to study the genetic and cellular causes of autism in the lab – directly on human tissue.

If the composition of the different nerve cell types gets out of balance during brain development, this can lead to autism (symbol image). (Visualisations: Adobe Stock)

In brief

  • Researchers have developed a method via which they can alter cells in miniscule human tissue cultures known as organoids in a mosaic-​like manner.
  • The technology helps to speed up the search for the molecular causes of hereditary diseases and peculiarities of brain development such as autism.
  • Research with organoids is an alternative to animal testing and helps to reduce it.

ETH News