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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

August 2021

Mutations in the noncoding genome contribute to autism

by  /  2 August 2021

Spontaneous mutations in parts of the genome that regulate gene EBF3 appear to contribute to autism risk.

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July 2021

New tool maps cell types in lab-grown blobs of brain tissue

by  /  29 July 2021

The software compares gene expression in cells derived from organoids with a reference atlas of the developing mouse brain.

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Ultra-rare variants point to new autism candidate genes

by  /  26 July 2021

A large, whole-genome sequencing study of families yields insights into ultra-rare genetic variants that contribute to autism.

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Micrographs comparing motor cortex neurons in mice with and without an extra copy of MECP2 gene.

Blocking key pathway reverses brain, behavior changes in autism mouse model

by  /  19 July 2021

Neurons in mice with an autism-linked mutation sprout extraneous protrusions, an overgrowth accompanied by above-average motor learning. Inhibiting a cell signaling pathway reverses the effect.

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Immature inhibitory cells surround mature neuron.

Critical time window flagged for autism gene’s influence

by  /  16 July 2021

A transplant of inhibitory neurons during the second week of life prevents social difficulties and a brain signaling imbalance in mice missing a copy of FOXG1.

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Four brown lab mice in a cage, top-down view, with one mouse away from the group.

Autism-linked mutation may blur brain’s boundary between self, others

by  /  15 July 2021

A mutation in the autism-linked gene SHANK3 changes how neurons encode information about social agency in mice.

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Patchwork mutations present a new frontier for autism research

by  /  12 July 2021

Mosaic mutations, which affect only some of the body’s cells, play a small but meaningful role in autism. Though they are difficult to study, researchers are working to master their complexity.

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researchers analyzing a big change in a DNA helix

Evolutionary approach reveals impact of missense variants in autism

by  /  7 July 2021

Cross-species comparisons can help make sense of subtle genetic variants in people with autism and identify hundreds of new genes that may contribute to the condition.

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Playful clay chromatin strand is not plugged in, there fore, not turned on

Autism’s link to chromatin remodeling, explained

by  /  6 July 2021

Many of the genes strongly linked to autism are involved in the remodeling of chromatin, the complex of DNA and proteins that makes up chromosomes. Scientists are just beginning to understand why.

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Micrograph showing fewer neurons in fetal mice whose mothers have only one functional copy of PTEN.

Maternal genetics may contribute to autism-like traits in mice via inflammation

by  /  2 July 2021

A mouse model hints that genes linked to inflammation in some women may increase the likelihood of autism in their children.

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