Faculty Advisor

Gibson, Daniel G


This project targeted gene expression in specific brain regions known to play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Due to ASD affecting males four times more often than females, we compared the male and female gene expression in different brain regions. Specific brain regions were extracted and analyzed using a PCR panel containing 84 neurotransmitter genes to identify differences between males and females in gene expression. Gabrb3 was found to be significantly higher in females than males. siRNA gene silencing was tested in the second part of the project for studying functionality. In the trial, the injection of gene specific siRNA, Mapk1, was shown to completely silence expression of the targeted gene. This would be the next step in identifying which genes are specific to autism.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2008


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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