Monkeys for autism research

The treasures of monkey island

On Cayo Santiago island, scientists track the alliances and power struggles of a colony of feral monkeys — collecting data to generate new insights into the social challenges that people with autism face.

By Brendan Borrell
22 June 2016 | 23 min read

Questions for Cory Miller: Monkeying around with marmosets

Small social monkeys called marmosets are well suited for studies on social behaviors and autism.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
10 May 2016 | 5 min read

New tool offers way to ‘light up’ cells in monkey brain

A new technique can stimulate and record activity across broad swaths of the monkey brain.

By Ann Griswold
16 March 2016 | 3 min read

Genetically modified monkeys show autism-like behaviors

Monkeys with multiple copies of a gene called MeCP2 show behaviors reminiscent of autism, but some experts question the model’s value.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
27 January 2016 | 6 min read

Monkey models march into autism research arena

Overcoming profound technical challenges, researchers may be well on their way to making a troop of monkey models for studying autism and related conditions

By Jessica Wright
21 October 2015 | 4 min read

On monkey island, some animals carry autism-linked mutation

Roughly one-sixth of the monkeys on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico may carry a variant in SHANK3, a top autism gene candidate.

By Jessica Wright
20 October 2015 | 4 min read

Social hormone may lead to solo outlook in monkey brains

Contrary to its reputation, oxytocin may make monkeys less interested in others’ actions and more focused on their own.

By Jessica Wright
19 October 2015 | 4 min read

Neurons move early, mature late in developing monkey brain

Researchers have mapped the migration patterns of neurons in the developing monkey brain and pinpointed when they establish their identities.

By Katie Moisse
19 October 2015 | 3 min read

Marmosets that miss social cues may mimic autism

Marmosets exposed to an epilepsy drug in the womb do not recognize reciprocity — the social give-and-take that is a challenge for some people with autism — suggests a new study. The findings add to mounting evidence that these tiny monkeys offer clues about autism.

By Kate Yandell
29 July 2015 | 3 min read

Atlas charts gene activity in developing monkey brains

Researchers have for the first time mapped gene expression in the rhesus macaque brain from birth through adulthood. The atlas illuminates the expression patterns of genes likely to be important in autism.

By Kate Yandell
10 June 2015 | 3 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Newly found circuit through visual cortex powers first look at faces

The superior colliculus, an evolutionarily ancient brain area responsible for eye movements, responds to faces before the canonical face areas do, a study of macaque monkeys suggests.

By Olivia Gieger
19 July 2024 | 5 min read

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read