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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

April 2010

Random genetic changes may explain variability in autism

by  /  13 April 2010

Random changes in gene expression can cause genetically identical embryos to develop different traits, according to a study of worms published in Nature. The findings suggest that haphazard movements of molecules could partly explain why autism-associated mutations don’t always cause the same symptoms.

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Psychiatry’s new game plan

by  /  12 April 2010

Writing in Science, leading scientists call for a 10-year, $2 billion international scheme that would combine the latest in genetics and animal research to combat psychiatric diseases.

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Rett gene found to control genome structure in neurons

by  /  9 April 2010

The protein that is mutated in Rett syndrome controls the expression of other genes by changing the way DNA packs into a cell, rather than turning genes on or off, according to a study published in Molecular Cell.

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Looming large

by  /  7 April 2010

How many people with autism are also obese?

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Mapping the brain

by  /  5 April 2010

The human brain holds a mind-boggling 100 billion neurons. Mapping their connections is the lofty goal of the Human Connectome Project, a $30 million scheme sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

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March 2010

Happy birthday, genome

by  /  31 March 2010

This summer will mark ten years since scientists sequenced the human genome. What have we gained from knowing those 3 billion base pairs?

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Autism and fragile X feature immune signatures

by  /  30 March 2010

Scientists have identified distinct blood signatures of cytokines — proteins that control communication between cells of the immune system — in individuals with fragile X syndrome and autism.

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Delay found in development of fragile X brains

by  /  26 March 2010

Young mouse models of fragile X syndrome show a significant lag in the development of synapses, the connections between neurons, according to a study published in Neuron. The findings suggest that a similar mistiming may be responsible for the sensory problems — such as hypersensitivity to touch and sound — sometimes seen in people with fragile X syndrome.

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Evan Eichler: Following his instincts to autism ‘hotspots’

by  /  22 March 2010

With an openness to collaboration and a healthy dose of daring, Evan Eichler has turned his offbeat interest in repeat DNA sequences into a new understanding of how genomes evolve, expediting the search for genes disrupted in autism.

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Two-hit wonder

by  /  17 March 2010

We know that carrying one specific DNA variant can increase your risk of autism. What if you carry two?

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