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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Previous articles

October 2017
A new resource charts the locations of two types of chemical modifications to chromosomes (top, middle) and gene expression changes (bottom) in brain tissue.
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Databases describe DNA ‘dials’ that control gene expression

by  /  20 October 2017

Two new resources catalog how genetic variants affect gene expression in the brain.

Room full of filing folders on shelves
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Repository ties mutations to traits in Phelan-McDermid syndrome

by  /  13 October 2017

A new database details the genetic mutations associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, along with the behavioral outcomes of people with those mutations.

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A new method analyzes gene expression to identify more than a dozen cell types in human brain tissue.
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Droplet technique probes gene expression in brain tissue

by  /  6 October 2017

A new method offers an efficient way to examine gene expression in individual cells from postmortem brains.

September 2017
One virtual world for fruit flies includes a cavernous space with a pole at the center.
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Virtual reality provides precise control of animal behavior

by  /  29 September 2017

A new tool can track fish, flies or mice as they navigate a virtual environment and interact with other animal ‘avatars.’

After months in culture, stem cells (left) develop into mature brain cells, including star-shaped astrocytes (right).
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Lab-grown spheres yield star-shaped brain cells

by  /  22 September 2017

A new technique allows researchers to generate brain cells called astrocytes and maintain them in culture as they mature.

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Method that maps DNA tags reveals new types of neurons

by  /  15 September 2017

A new technique classifies neurons by surveying chemical tags that turn genes on or off on the neurons’ DNA.

Individual differences in brain structure parallel variations in brain activation when people move their tongue or feet.
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Lengthy scans yield detailed maps of individual brains

by  /  8 September 2017

A new database contains high-fidelity brain maps of 10 typical adults.

Image of brains showing The crests of the brain’s outer shell are more curved in people with autism (top) than in controls (bottom)
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Computer tool maps ridges on brain’s bumpy surface

by  /  1 September 2017

New software charts the crests of the folds that define the brain’s surface in people with autism.

August 2017
A family holding hands and walking down the sidewalk.
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Whole genomes may power search for autism risk factors

by  /  23 August 2017

Scientists this week announced the release of nearly 7,000 whole-genome sequences from a collection of families that each have one child with autism.

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Spheres that mimic the blood-brain barrier are wrapped in endothelial cells (green), which line blood vessels in the brain.
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Spheres of cells reveal which drugs can enter brains

by  /  18 August 2017

Microscopic balls of brain and blood vessel cells mimic the barrier that protects the brain from foreign invaders.


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