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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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May 2012

Robot replaces neuroscientists in technique

by  /  23 May 2012

A robot can replace researchers in performing a painstaking technique that records neuronal signals in live animal brains, according to a study published 6 May in Nature Methods.

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New technique helps locate source of brain imaging signals

by  /  16 May 2012

Combining functional magnetic resonance imaging of rat brains with a technique that uses light to detect neuronal activity can help researchers hone in on the source of the activity, according to a study published 6 May in Nature Methods.

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Sponges made from RNA can knock down gene expression

by  /  9 May 2012

Researchers have created sponge-like assemblies of hundreds of thousands of short fragments of RNA, which can be used to dampen the expression of certain genes, according to a study published 26 February in Nature Materials.

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Blood biomarkers can help diagnose schizophrenia

by  /  2 May 2012

A biological signature in the blood could be used to aid the early diagnosis of schizophrenia, according to a study published 12 April in Molecular Psychiatry. The results suggest that various circulating immune molecules and metabolites reflect the biological changes that underlie neurological disorders.

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April 2012

Researchers engineer mice lacking microRNAs

by  /  25 April 2012

Researchers are developing a resource that will allow scientists to engineer mice lacking one of 162 microRNAs — non-coding regions of the genome that regulate gene expression. The results were published 19 April in Cell Reports.

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Chili pepper protein can alter behavior of mice

by  /  18 April 2012

By manipulating the location of a protein that detects capsaicin, the molecule responsible for the burn in hot chili peppers, researchers can activate subpopulations of neurons and alter the behavior of mice. The results were published 20 March in Nature Communications.

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Software profiles social interactions between mice

by  /  11 April 2012

A computerized video analysis tool can simultaneously track two mice and catalog their social interactions. The results were published 4 March Nature Methods.

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Researchers map gene expression in the monkey brain

by  /  4 April 2012

Researchers have used gene expression data to create a map of the layers within the neocortex, a brain region involved in sensory perception, motor control and language, of rhesus macaques. The results were published 22 March in Neuron.

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March 2012

Researchers make neurons from blood cells

by  /  28 March 2012

Researchers have generated neurons from the blood cells of individuals with autism, according to a study published 7 March in Neuroscience Letters.

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Online tool can predict effects of genetic variants

by  /  21 March 2012

Researchers have developed a tool that can predict whether DNA mutations that change a single base pair are likely to alter RNA splicing, a process that modifies the sequence of mRNA, the genetic message that codes for protein. The results were published 10 February in Bioinformatics.

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