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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

February 2021
Oil and water with colors behind: blue, green, yellow and red.

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.

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

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.

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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Genetic variants in protein target sites may contribute to autism

by  /  12 February 2021

Mutations that disrupt binding sites in RNA molecules may play a role in autism and a variety of psychiatric conditions, according to a new study.

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cells in a mouse brain show the mutations in green.

Molecular switch marks mosaic mutations in mice

by  /  11 February 2021

A new tool enables researchers to create mosaic mutations in only some cells and then accurately identify which cells are affected.

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Mutations in frogs point to autism genes’ shared role in neurogenesis

by  /  10 February 2021

Mutations in any of 10 autism-linked genes in frogs lead to the same overabundance of brain cells that develop into neurons; the sex hormone estrogen lowers this excess.

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four figures overlapping in red and blue with multi-colored genetic info

Common variants link autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome

by  /  2 February 2021

Genetic variants that contribute to autism may also be involved in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette syndrome, according to a new study.

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Heatmap plot showing how each genetic variant plus autism group differed.

Copy number variations linked to autism have diverse but overlapping effects

by  /  1 February 2021

People with mutations in distant chromosomal regions often share a range of autism traits, even if they do not meet the diagnostic threshold for autism.

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January 2021

Method may improve safety of gene therapies targeting the brain

by  /  28 January 2021

A new approach for delivering gene therapy to the brain reduces nerve damage in primates and could help make gene therapies for conditions related to autism safer.

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