Cognitive components in mice and humans: Combining genetics and touchscreens for medical translation.
Nithianantharajah J, Grant SG.
Human disorders of cognition arise from hundreds of gene mutations and mice serve as models for developing and testing therapeutic approaches. Recent advancements using touchscreen psychological tests that measure similar components of cognition in mice and humans can be combined with genetics. These experiments formally demonstrate that different components of cognition in humans and mice are not merely analogous, but homologous, sharing common descent and genetic constitution. They also show that it is possible to genetically dissect different behaviours and identify their underlying molecular mechanisms. Using these methods as standardised approaches offers the prospect of understanding the genetic architecture of the cognitive repertoire and the identification of new targets for drug development. Rigorously defining homologous mechanisms using genetics and touchscreen tests may also improve drug trial design. Recommendations for mouse clinical trial protocols combined with human genetics are proposed.