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Autism Rat Model Resource

Laboratory rats are the animal of choice in neurobiology, with a more complex behavioral repertoire than mice and a larger brain permitting more sophisticated electrophysiological recordings. Recent developments in gene editing technologies have now allowed the development of genetically linked disorders.  

The Medical College of Wisconsin has been working with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) to generate and distribute engineered rat models of autism. Models will be maintained in the outbred Long-Evans (Crl:LE) background strain, as this is often the strain of choice for cognitive, behavioral and systems neuroscience studies. These models are available to any qualified researcher for non-commercial research, with minimal cost and restrictions.

Available Strains
Model   Strain name   RGDID
Fmr1 knockout (m2)   LE-Fmr1em2Mcwi   11553873
Arid1b knockout   LE-Arid1bem1Mcwi   14394518
Grin2b knockout   LE-Grin2bem1Mcwi   14394515
Dyrk1a knockout (m3)   LE-Dyrk1aem3Mcwi   25394526
Scn2a knockout (m1)   LE-Scn2aem1Mcwi   25394530
Chd8 knockout (m1)   LE-Chd8em1Mcwi   25330088
Cntnap2 knockout (m1)   LE-Cntnap2em1Mcwi   25330087
Nrxn1 knockout (m1)   LE-Nrxn1m1Mcwi   25330089

Contact the MCW Gene Editing Rat Resource Center for more information:


As an initial effort to characterize these lines, these models will be behaviorally phenotyped by Peter Kind and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with Sumantra “Shona” Chattarji and his team at the Center for Development and Repair in Bangalore. Resulting data will be available to the community in a timely manner.

Contact SFARI for further information on specific lines, as well as suggestions and comments on our efforts more generally:


RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.