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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

June 2010

New model mines simpler organisms for autism genes

by  /  3 June 2010

A new model that compares how the same genes behave in different organisms could help researchers identify previously unknown candidates for diseases such as autism. The model, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, takes advantage of the genetic overlap between humans and simpler organisms to discover genes associated with complex diseases.

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Researchers identify biological roles for fragile X protein

by  /  1 June 2010

FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, is needed for the birth of new neurons, for regulating the translation of RNA into protein, and for maintaining the structural integrity of spiny neuronal projections, according to several new studies.

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May 2010

Microarray analysis deemed best genetic test for autism

by  /  28 May 2010

Chromosomal microarray analysis, which screens the entire genome for tiny blips in the sequence, should be the first genetic test performed when diagnosing autism, says a consortium of clinical geneticists. The recommendation comes on the heels of a study that found the test is three times more effective at spotting autism variants than are standard clinical methods.

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Darwinian emotion

by  /  27 May 2010

Charles Darwin performed what may be the world’s first study of how people interpret and understand the emotions of others, according to a paper published in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.

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Gene expression pattern could pinpoint autism

by  /  25 May 2010

Researchers can reliably identify individuals with autism by looking at the expression pattern of a set of genes in cultured blood cells, according to a poster presented Friday at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.

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Children with autism and siblings share brain ‘signature’

by  /  24 May 2010

Children who have autism and their healthy siblings share patterns of brain activity that are different than those seen in children with no family history of the disorder, according to unpublished research presented at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.

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Williams syndrome precludes racial bias, study finds

by  /  20 May 2010

Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.

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Granny’s genes

by  /  19 May 2010

The older a grandmother was when she bore her grandchild’s mother, the greater the child’s risk of autism, according to a study published last month in PLoS One.

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Study implicates cell-adhesion proteins in autism

by  /  18 May 2010

Variations in two genes needed to form connections between brain cells may be associated with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published 25 March in Molecular Autism. Some variants in the genes seem to increase susceptibility to autism, whereas others protect children from developing the disorder.

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Creatures great and small

by  /  18 May 2010

Among animal models of autism, the mouse reigns supreme. But could much simpler species — flies, bees, worms, fish — also teach us about the disorder?

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