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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

May 2010

New technique maps methylated DNA

by  /  14 May 2010

A new technique can simultaneously sequence DNA and pinpoint some of the chemical modifications that turn genes on or off, according to a report published 9 May in Nature Methods. In particular, the technique reveals methyl groups bound to DNA bases.

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Imaging studies investigate language circuits in autism

by  /  11 May 2010

Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.

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Mouse models reveal workings of neuroligin-1

by  /  4 May 2010

Researchers are tinkering with mouse models to investigate the function of a protein that helps wire neurons together and that has repeatedly been linked to autism. Three such reports of the protein, neuroligin-1, have appeared this year.

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April 2010

Future of autism genetics is all in the family

by  /  30 April 2010

Two independent teams have identified the genetic culprits of three rare, inherited diseases by sequencing the genomes of several members of the same family. As the cost of whole-genome sequencing plummets, this family-based approach will reveal candidate genes not just for rare diseases but for common, complex disorders such as autism, experts say.

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Undressing oxytocin

by  /  29 April 2010

Scientists have been unable to replicate work showing an association between oxytocin receptor genes and autism.

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Scientists find molecular player in Angelman syndrome

by  /  27 April 2010

Two independent teams have discovered key molecular steps in the way a single gene disrupts the connections between neurons in individuals with Angelman syndrome. Because the gene, UBE3A, has also been linked to autism, the findings could help scientists understand and treat a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Researchers probe genetic overlap between ADHD, autism

by  /  22 April 2010

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism may have more in common than childhood onset and a few similar symptoms. New research suggests the conditions share genetic roots.

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Scientists finger neurexin 1 defects in autism

by  /  20 April 2010

Several studies in the past year in people, mice and honeybees have tied autism to a protein that helps neurons communicate. Problems with the protein, neurexin 1, are associated with a wide range of autistic behaviors, such as impaired social interactions, anxiety and problems with learning and memory.

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All together now?

by  /  19 April 2010

On 7 April, a group of investigators conducting autism genome sequencing projects met at the New York Academy of Medicine, aiming to establish the ground rules for a potential Autism Sequencing Consortium.

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Measuring expression

by  /  14 April 2010

To examine protein interactions inside brain cells, scientists typically zero in on one gene at a time. A new method described in today’s Nature simultaneously measures expression of the whole genome.

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