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Genes

Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.

Opinion / Viewpoint
Brain made of DNA strands on a background of molecule shapes

There are no autism-specific genes, just brain genes

by ,  /  23 March 2021
There is not yet a single example of a gene that, when mutated, increases the likelihood of autism but not of other neurodevelopmental conditions, including intellectual disability.
News

Innate stress response may link maternal infection to autism

by  /  19 March 2021
A typically protective stress response could help to explain the connection between maternal illness and neurodevelopmental conditions.
News
Oligodendrocyte shown orange on black in this scanning electron micrograph.

How oligodendrocytes may shape autism

by  /  15 March 2021
A growing body of evidence shows that brain cells called oligodendrocytes may play a larger role in autism than previously thought.
March 2021
mouse brain neurons highlighted pink and green.
News / Toolbox

New technique tunes in to molecular chatter in neurons

by  /  11 March 2021

Researchers have devised a way to use fluorescent sensors to detect many different signaling molecules in a cell at once.

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Street view in Ricuarte, Colombia
News

Colombia lags behind in fragile X syndrome testing, diagnosis

by  /  10 March 2021

People with fragile X syndrome in Colombia are diagnosed at age 27, on average, according to the first study to assess diagnosis in the country. By comparison, the average age of fragile X diagnosis in the United States is younger than 4.

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A digital rendering of a green neuron on black
News

Brain activity jump-starts autism-linked genes in human neurons

by  /  5 March 2021

Some neurons activate autism-linked genes when they fire, according to a new study.

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A lone Rhesus macaque looks into the camera
News / Toolbox

New macaque reference genome fills sequence gaps

by  /  4 March 2021

Researchers have created the most complete macaque reference genome to date and used it to catalog genetic variation among hundreds of monkeys.

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News

Broken protein bridge linked to Rett syndrome traits

by  /  1 March 2021

Altering a protein linked to Rett syndrome so that it cannot bind to a methylation tag in neurons results in Rett-like traits in mice.

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February 2021
DNA mutation
News

Proteins linked to top autism gene might aid early diagnosis

by  /  26 February 2021

Blood levels of PTEN protein and associated molecules could eventually help diagnose autism and other neurological conditions — and predict their outcomes.

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Oil and water with colors behind: blue, green, yellow and red.
Opinion / Q&A

How microscopic ‘condensates’ in cells might contribute to autism

by  /  23 February 2021

A controversial idea about how cells compartmentalize their contents into droplets — like beads of oil in water — could be key to understanding autism, says Julie Forman-Kay.

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Oligodendrocyte gene grouping showing network of blue lines connecting the gene names on reddish bubbles.
News

Differing gene functions across species may pose problems for autism models

by  /  22 February 2021

Misaligned gene expression maps suggest that some autism-linked genes play distinct roles in mouse and human brains.

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Singing zebra finches
News

Autism gene interference silences song memory in birds

by  /  19 February 2021

Muffling expression of an autism-linked gene in a key song-related area of the brain renders young zebra finches unable to learn songs from older birds.

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Transmission Electron micrograph shows mitochondria colored an aqua blue.
News

Changes to mitochondrial DNA spur autism-like traits in mice

by  /  17 February 2021

Mice with a mutation in their mitochondrial DNA show altered brain activity, repetitive behaviors and reduced sociability, according to a new study.

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