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Nonhuman Primate Models of Autism 

Nonhuman Primate Models of Autism
Nonhuman Primate Models of Autism

Melissa D. Bauman

and David G. Amaral

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date: 09 July 2020

Nonhuman primates share many features of human physiology, anatomy, and behavior, thus making the nonhuman primate an ideal species to study a variety of human disorders. Although we are in the very early stages of developing valid animal models of autism, it is likely that nonhuman primate models will play an important role in identifying biological underpinnings of autism and facilitating the development of future treatment and prevention strategies. The strength of an animal model depends on its resemblance to the human disorder in question. Three criteria are commonly used to evaluate animal models: construct validity—the extent to which the model reproduces the etiology and/or pathophysiology of the disorder; face validity—the degree to which the model resembles symptoms of the disorder; and predictive validity—the extent to which treatment of the animal model provides insight into therapeutic options for the human condition. This chapter discusses the role of these three criteria in establishing animal models of autism; the advantages and limitations of nonhuman primate models; modeling features of autism in nonhuman primates; probes of social behavior deficits related to autism; probes for communication deficits related to autism; probes for repetitive behavior and restricted interests; isolate rearing models; amygdala lesion models; and maternal auto-antibody model.

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