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December 2012
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Software tool homes in on disease-linked mutations

by  /  5 December 2012

By combining pedigree information with sequencing data, a new software tool helps focus on genetic variants likely to be responsible for disease, researchers reported 10 October in Bioinformatics.

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November 2012
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New technique prepares mouse brains for mapping

by  /  28 November 2012

Researchers have developed a method to fix and stain intact mouse brains for electron microscopy, according to a study published 21 October in Nature Methods. The technique allows them to trace the paths of neurons as they project across the brain.

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Female mice model late onset of Rett syndrome

by  /  21 November 2012

Female mice of two different genetic backgrounds consistently model the behavioral features of Rett syndrome, according to a study published 9 October in Human Molecular Genetics. Although Rett syndrome presents almost entirely in girls, researchers have thus far relied mostly on male mice to model the disorder.

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Brain atlas maps gene expression in three dimensions

by  /  14 November 2012

Researchers have charted patterns of gene expression in a three-dimensional representation of the human brain. The results, published 20 September in Nature, show that different brain regions have distinct molecular and functional roles.

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Virtual brain suggests neural connections form randomly

by  /  7 November 2012

Researchers are assembling a virtual reconstruction of the brain by piecing together simulations of thousands of neurons, they reported 16 October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used this model to show that most junctions between neurons form randomly and not as the result of chemical signals.

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October 2012
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Stem cells reveal genes that have parental bias

by  /  31 October 2012

Researchers have used stem cells to identify 801 neuronal genes that are preferentially expressed from either the maternal or paternal chromosome, according to a study published 30 August in PLoS One. Of these genes, 26 are linked to autism and 48 to schizophrenia. 

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Technique follows calcium trail to track changes in signaling

by  /  24 October 2012

Researchers have genetically engineered neurons to fluoresce in response to the calcium signals emitted when they fire, according to a study published 18 October in Neuron.

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New technique takes sharp look at whole mouse brains

by  /  17 October 2012

A new microscopy technique allows researchers to take high-resolution three-dimensional images of intact mouse brains.

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‘Spiny mice’ model risk of autism from maternal infection

by  /  10 October 2012

The so-called ‘spiny mouse’ species has a gestational period twice as long as that of typical laboratory mice. This makes them good models for studying the link between prenatal exposure and autism risk, according to a study published 29 August in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

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Short screening tool flags children with autism

by  /  3 October 2012

A subset of questions on two behavioral screens can distinguish children with autism from those with other developmental disorders, according to a study published 23 August in Autism.

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