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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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