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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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January 2013
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Mouse stem cells enable study of Rett syndrome

by  /  23 January 2013

Researchers have made neurons from the skin cells of mice that model Rett syndrome, according to a study published in the December issue Molecular Psychiatry.

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Fluorescent fish help track mitochondrial motion

by  /  16 January 2013

Fish engineered to express fluorescent proteins allow researchers to follow the paths of migrating mitochondria, the cell’s energy producers, according to a study published 14 November in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Newer mutations more likely to lead to disorders

by  /  9 January 2013

Of the thousands of DNA variants linked to autism, those that evolved later are the most likely to be harmful, according to a study published 28 November in Nature.

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News / Toolbox

Conversation with avatar teaches social skills

by  /  2 January 2013

In a virtual reality game intended to improve social skills in teenagers with autism, the players must ask computer avatars the right questions while seeming engaged in the conversation. The game was described 27 September in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.

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December 2012
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Network tool highlights links between genes and disorders

by  /  19 December 2012

Autworks, a new online tool, has data on almost 20,000 human genes linked to nearly 3,000 disorders. The tool, published 28 November in BMC Medical Genomics, creates gene-network maps for each disorder and highlights the overlap between them.

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Precocious piglets may model neurological disorders

by  /  12 December 2012

The brains of newborn pigs are similar in shape and mature at the same rate as those of human infants. That makes piglets a good model for studying neurological disorders, according to a study published in the November issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

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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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