Research press release




今回、Warren Jonesたちの研究グループは、社会的場面を見ることの個人差を評価するために一連の視標追跡実験を実施し、顔と顔に似た視覚刺激に対する注意力や個々の眼球運動のタイミング、方向性と目標設定を調べた。この実験の対象となったのは338人の乳幼児で、そのうち166人が一卵性双生児と二卵性双生児で、88人が自閉症スペクトラム障害と診断された非双生児で、84人が単生児(対照群)だった。この実験の結果、一卵性双生児が同じように応答し、91%という高い一致率を示したが、二卵性双生児は、それほど類似しておらず、一致率が35%で、この結果は、こうした行動に強い遺伝的要因のあることを示している。また、遺伝性が最も高かった評価項目(例えば、顔の眼と口の領域への選択的注目)は、自閉症の子どもにおいて特異的に評価が低かった。


Social visual engagement - the way in which babies collect information by looking before they can reach, crawl or walk - is heritable and impaired in children with autism, suggests a new study published online in Nature this week. This research supports the notion that social visual engagement is a critical aspect of infant development in the seeking and understanding of social behaviour, not only for children with autism but also for the broader population.

Warren Jones and colleagues conducted a series of eye-tracking experiments that assessed variation in viewing social scenes - including levels of attention to faces and face-like stimuli, and the timing, direction, and targeting of individual eye movements - in 338 toddlers, including 166 identical and fraternal twins, 88 non-twins diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and 84 singleton controls. The authors found that identical twin pairs responded similarly (with a high concordance of 91%) and fraternal twin pairs less so (with a low concordance of 35%), indicating a strong genetic component to such behaviours. Moreover, the measures that are most highly heritable, including preferential attention to eye and mouth regions of the face, are also those that are differentially diminished in children with autism.

The authors conclude that these findings lend insight into the way a child’s genetic characteristics allow him or her to interact with his or her environment. While the authors acknowledge that similar concepts have been explored in other studies contrasting the experiential development of children with autism and their typically developing peers, they say that this is the first time, to their knowledge, that a directly traceable genetic influence has been demonstrated.

doi: 10.1038/nature22999

「Nature 関連誌注目のハイライト」は、ネイチャー広報部門が報道関係者向けに作成したリリースを翻訳したものです。より正確かつ詳細な情報が必要な場合には、必ず原著論文をご覧ください。

メールマガジンリストの「Nature 関連誌今週のハイライト」にチェックをいれていただきますと、毎週最新のNature 関連誌のハイライトを皆様にお届けいたします。