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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Gut neurons and glia (red, green) are fragile and interwoven with other cells (blue) in the colon, making them tricky to isolate.

Cell maps reveal diversity of neurons in gut

by  /  21 October 2020

An atlas that details gene expression in neurons and other cells from the intestines of mice and people may help to elucidate the link between gut problems and autism.

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October 2020
Parent reads to her child at night in a makeshift text with cozy lights.
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Virtual lab visits enable remote assessments of child development

by  /  7 October 2020

A new telehealth test offers researchers a way to detect signs of atypical behavior from afar and could help more families participate in autism studies and clinical trials.

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September 2020
Neurons in a macaque cortex express parvalbumin in red.
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Virus-based method manipulates inhibitory neurons in brains

by  /  9 September 2020

A new viral tool can selectively control different types of neurons that dampen brain activity in rodents, monkeys and people.

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Zebrafish embryos with various deformities.
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CRISPR technique knocks down gene expression in animal embryos

by  /  2 September 2020

A new method that suppresses gene expression in the embryos of fish and mice may help researchers study autism genes in early development.

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August 2020
Proteins binding to RNA, illustration.
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Massive encyclopedia catalogs genome’s regulatory regions

by  /  26 August 2020

The most comprehensive catalog to date of DNA regions that modify gene expression is helping researchers uncover the role these segments play in autism.

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New measures of social skills tap what monkeys see, do

by  /  14 August 2020

A pair of tools that gauge social abilities in rhesus macaques may help researchers study autism-like behaviors in monkeys.

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Mouse brain images show proteins in mouse brains at different ages.
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New ‘synaptome’ maps neuronal connections in mouse brain across lifespan

by  /  5 August 2020

A new atlas lays bare how synapses, or the junctions between neurons, change from birth to old age in mice.

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July 2020
grid of six brain slices in different staining methods.
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Software maps neurons to reference brain atlas

by  /  29 July 2020

A computer program aligns mouse brain images with a reference brain atlas, helping researchers analyze neurons and their connections in a standardized way.

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Mouse with optpgenetic device in its head
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Wireless optogenetics device reveals new role for ‘cuddle hormone’

by  /  15 July 2020

A new wireless device switches oxytocin-producing neurons on and off in mice as they interact, showing the hormone’s effects depend on social context.

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DNA helix with mutation or deletion
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Scores forecast effects of mutations in autism gene

by  /  8 July 2020

A new analysis links individual mutations in a gene called PTEN to a person’s odds of having autism, cancer or other conditions.

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June 2020
A genome data set shows colorful clusters by ancestry
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Massive genomic database helps decode mutations’ effects

by  /  24 June 2020

A trove of DNA sequences from 141,456 people — and counting — offers an unparalleled look at genetic variation.

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