Spectrum: Autism Research News
In November 2021, Spectrum’s Laura Dattaro took a deep dive into the world of ‘mitomaniacs,’ researchers committed to the idea that mitochondria contribute to autism and related conditions such as fragile X syndrome. Since then, the organelles — overlooked in most autism research — have cropped up in several Spectrum news stories. In this collection, we serve up Dattaro’s original story along with coverage linking mitochondria to autism published over the past two years.
Cite this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/SLTD8946
Clues that problems with mitochondria contribute to autism have been accumulating for decades. In the past five years, a mutant mouse and a flurry of findings have energized the field.
People with autism have more mutations than others do in both mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA that affects mitochondrial function.
Whole-genome sequencing data — which include information about mitochondrial DNA — offer clues to why mutations in the same gene can lead to autism or cancer.
The in-depth approach shows mutations in the autism-linked gene disrupt neuronal growth and communication, as well as mitochondrial gene expression.
The DNA specific to mitochondria is difficult to access, but new methods place its secrets within reach.
Mice with a mutation in their mitochondrial DNA show altered brain activity, repetitive behaviors and reduced sociability, according to a new study.