Expression of Dscaml1 in the Optic Tract

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Ren Dimico; Mark Lee; Megan Schlussler; Peter Fuerst
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People who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience sensory and communication deficits. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to ASD. One gene that has been discovered to be associated with ASD is Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (Dscam), which plays a role in neuron development[1]. This project focuses on the Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule Like-1 (Dscaml1), specifically loss of function, a gene similar to Dscam. Dscam has been studied using a mouse model, but most of these studies have been focused on the retina. Here we focus on the rest of the brain visual centers. Both mutant and wild type brains were cut and stained for a gene that causes disruption of Dscaml1. Comparisons between brain types are then made to determine where Dscaml1 is normally expressed within the optic chiasm of the brain. This project is aimed to gain a better understanding of Dscaml1’s impact on the function and development of the brain. The overall goal is to create a library of images of mutant Dscam and Dscaml1 brains.