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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

June 2021
Micrograph of two developing axons, one with one copy of TSC2 gene and the other with two copies.

Disrupted cell skeletons may explain brain wiring changes in autism-linked condition

by  /  28 June 2021

Neuronal axons ignore guidance cues after a mutation in the gene TSC2 disrupts signaling through RhoA, a protein regulated by many autism-linked genes.

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Dr. Huda Zoghbi portrait

Huda Zoghbi: Taking genetic inquiry to the next level

by  /  25 June 2021

Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, Huda Zoghbi has won almost every major biology and neuroscience research award that exists. More than 20 years since she discovered the gene behind Rett syndrome, she remains laser focused on unlocking the condition’s secrets and finding effective treatments.

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Mouse brain cells seen in red

Autism-linked mutation may disrupt brain cell migration

by  /  23 June 2021

Mutations in CUL3, a leading autism gene, may disrupt the movements of neurons during development; correcting this misdirection could lead to an autism therapy.

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Mouse neuron recordings showing different levels of activity before and after an encounter with an unfamiliar mouse.

Neural network captures noisy neurons in autism mouse model

by  /  18 June 2021

Mice missing the autism-linked gene SHANK3 use more neurons to engage in social behavior than control mice do, reflecting a more disorganized, less efficient brain signaling network.

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CRISPR tool creates long-lasting epigenome alterations

by  /  11 June 2021

A new spin on the classic CRISPR gene-editing tool can alter the genome’s chemical tags and suppress gene expression for months.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

by  /  4 June 2021

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

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Brown lab mice being handled by researchers.

Deleting rare autism gene leads to physical, social differences in mice

by  /  3 June 2021

Loss of the gene KMT5B stunts growth in male mice and leads to social difficulties in female mice, a new study suggests.

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Brain activity patterns may distinguish girls with autism

by  /  2 June 2021

Atypical patterns of neuronal activity and gene expression in the striatum may characterize autism in girls, according to a new study.

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May 2021

Stimulant restores cell signaling, eases behavior issues in animals missing autism gene

by  /  28 May 2021

Worms and zebrafish missing both copies of the gene CHD7 have disrupted cellular signaling, a dearth of inhibitory neurons and behavior changes — all of which are reversed by the stimulant drug ephedrine.

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DNA helix inside the human body

Autism genetics, explained

by  /  28 May 2021

The more scientists dig into DNA, the more intricate its contribution to autism seems to be. Here, we unravel the complex genetics of autism.

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