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Toward an Understanding of the Developmental Basis of Brain Dysfunction in Autism: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cortical Region and Network Formation

The cerebral cortex is made up of anatomically and functionally distinct regions and past evidence has suggested that abnormal formation and activity of certain areas may be involved in autism. This research investigated morphological and functional regionalization of the mammalian cerebral cortex in normally developing mouse models to understand how the development of the cerebral cortex may be disrupted in autism. The use of diverse tools available in mice enabled us to understand how genes cooperate with one another and with extrinsic signals to build regions and functional circuitry in the cerebral cortex. This research provided a basis for understanding how processes may be disrupted in individuals with autism, and should contribute to better diagnosis and treatment of this condition.