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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

New method uses virus-like protein to package, deliver RNA

by  /  9 September 2021

A novel gene delivery system taps a protein found in people to encapsulate messenger RNA and transport it into cells.

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August 2021
Markov cluster showing protein interactions in mice.
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Protein atlas doubles number of known interactions in mice

by  /  26 August 2021

Thousands of protein-protein interactions mapped in mice reveal how these networks shift across seven kinds of tissue.

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Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria cultured from a sample of human faeces.
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New library catalogs the human gut microbiome

by  /  25 August 2021

Researchers put hundreds of gut bacteria strains through their paces to chart the compounds each creates — and to help others explore the flora’s potential contribution to autism.

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July 2021
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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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image shows slice of a mouse brain with genes highlighted
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Method tracks neuron paths, gene expression simultaneously

by  /  21 July 2021

A new technique can reveal where thousands of neurons send their axons — and measure the cells’ RNA levels for dozens of genes at the same time — in the mouse brain. It could be used to profile neural circuits underlying autism.

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New optogenetics technique minimizes thermal damage to neurons

by  /  8 July 2021

Thanks to a new engineered protein for optogenetics experiments, researchers can stimulate neurons with less light than usual and avoid damaging brain tissue.

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June 2021
wireless optogenetic device glowing green on mouse brain.
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Wireless optogenetic devices sync neurons among mice

by  /  17 June 2021

Researchers say they can synchronize two new devices and control neurons across 256 freely moving animals at once to study social behaviors.

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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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Mini probe records neuronal activity in mouse brain over months

by  /  1 June 2021

A new miniature iteration of a popular probe enables researchers to record activity at thousands of sites across the mouse brain and track the activity of individual neurons over months — providing long-term recording at an unprecedented scale.

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May 2021
3D mouse rendering
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Virtual mouse helps scientists track behavior

by  /  27 May 2021

An animated mouse reenacts common behavioral experiments and can be used to train algorithms that automatically track lab animals’ movements.

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New benchmark for autism scale may help gauge therapies

by  /  18 May 2021

Researchers have defined a change in score on a popular autism rating scale that signifies a meaningful improvement in core traits. The measure could help scientists assess the effectiveness of autism treatments in clinical trials.

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