DNA sequences called enhancers — which boost the expression of genes from within or outside them — are enriched for genetic variants linked to autism, suggests a new study. The finding may help researchers understand how variants outside genes contribute to autism.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
A new strategy sharpens the analysis of chemical tags on the DNA-protein complexes that regulate gene expression. The method may help researchers decipher how gene expression goes awry in disorders such as autism.
People with autism are twice as likely to carry alterations in genes that regulate the circadian clock, or the body’s sleep-wake cycle as those without the disorder. The findings may help explain why most children with autism have trouble with sleep.
There is some evidence that neural habituation — the process by which neurons get used to sensory stimuli — goes awry in autism. Mutant fish may help us understand the sensory sensitivities that often accompany the disorder, says Alan Packer.
A new resource reveals that gene expression varies more across tissues in one person than it does in the same tissue type among individuals. The findings, described 8 May in Science, indicate that the brain’s gene expression signature is unique.
Rare inherited mutations may contribute to autism in roughly 10 percent of boys with the disorder, according to a study published 11 May in Nature Genetics. These genetic glitches are primarily passed down from unaffected mothers.
One of the most consistent findings in autism, and perhaps the most perplexing, is that it affects about four boys for every girl. This gender bias has become a hot topic in autism research — so much so that Molecular Autism devoted its entire May issue to it.
A new method simultaneously reveals a single cell’s DNA sequence and which of its genes are turned on.