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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.

April 2015

Genes dwarf environment in autism’s origins, study says

by  /  6 April 2015

The genetic makeup of an individual plays much a bigger role than environmental factors in whether he or she develops autism, according to one of the largest twin studies to date.


Autism-linked DNA deletion may derail brain development

by  /  2 April 2015

Missing a swath of chromosome 16 with strong ties to autism disrupts proteins crucial for early brain development. The findings open the door to targeted interventions.

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New video test assesses toddlers’ subtle social growth

by  /  1 April 2015

A 20-minute test enlists parents in gauging a toddler’s social development by showing them a video of how a typically developing child acts.

March 2015

Age of parents explains little of surge in autism

by  /  31 March 2015

Increasing parental age accounted for just 2.7 percent of the rise in autism prevalence between 1994 and 2001, according to a study of New York City families published 17 March in Maternal and Child Health Journal.

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Magnetic beads map gene expression in single cells

by  /  25 March 2015

Newly developed microscopic beads give cells unique barcodes based on the cells’ gene expression patterns. This faster and cheaper system could help researchers study autism in cultured cells.


The social network: How everyday interactions shape autism

by  /  23 March 2015

A new study is the first rigorous test of a controversial idea: that the everyday interactions between caregiver and child can shape the course of autism.


Studies trace far-reaching effects of single autism gene

by  /  19 March 2015

Scientists peel back the layers of genetic complexity in autism, starting with the master regulator CHD8.


Clever new method coaxes chromatin from living tissues

by  /  18 March 2015

A new method allows researchers to extract chromatin — the DNA-protein complex that helps to regulate gene expression — from tissue samples weighing as little as 1 milligram.


Landscape of chemical tags paves way for autism studies

by  /  2 March 2015

In a feat that unites findings from 2,800 experiments in more than 100 types of cells, researchers have mapped the human epigenome — the many layers of code that turn genes on or off.

February 2015

Maternal infection exacerbates genes’ effect on autism

by  /  23 February 2015

Children with too many or too few copies of certain genes are more likely to have autism, as are children born to women who battled a severe infection while pregnant. These seemingly disparate risk factors may work together to worsen autism symptoms.