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Summary: Researchers have developed a neurodevelopmental model of Williams syndrome that may provide insights into the neurobiology of the social brain.
Rare genetic condition produces individuals with extremely sociable personalities but research may also shed light on biology and behavior of persons with autism and other social disorders.
In a study spanning molecular genetics, stem cells and the sciences of both brain and behavior, researchers at University of California San Diego, with colleagues at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies and elsewhere, have created a neurodevelopmental model of a rare genetic disorder that may provide new insights into the underlying neurobiology of the human social brain.
The findings are published in the August 10 online edition of Nature.
But beyond that, he believes studying WS may help explain what makes humans social beings – a key development in the evolution of humanity. “It was our social power that made us a collaborative species,” said Muotri, “capable of dramatic transformation of our environment by creating poetry, music and technology.”