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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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January 2012
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New technique charts patterns of microRNA expression

by  /  25 January 2012

Researchers have mapped the levels of tiny RNA fragments that regulate gene expression in specific brain regions and subtypes of neurons. The results were published 12 January in Neuron.  

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New resource compiles data on autism-linked genes

by  /  18 January 2012

A new online database provides searchable information for nearly 10,000 genes, variants and chromosomal regions linked to autism. Researchers describe the resource, dubbed AutismKB, in the January issue of Nucleic Acids Research.

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Video technique measures monkeys’ social interest

by  /  11 January 2012

Male rhesus macaques show more interest in videos with social content, such as another monkey displaying aggression, than in videos of landscapes or other animals, according to a study published 26 October in PLoS One.

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Brain atlas maps gene expression across development

by  /  4 January 2012

Researchers have charted the expression of more than 15,000 brain genes across 15 stages of development, spanning from 4 weeks post-conception to more than 60 years of age, they reported 27 October in Nature.

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December 2011
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Quick test for fragile X may be ideal for developing nations

by  /  21 December 2011

Dried spots of blood taken from infants at birth can help clinicians screen for fragile X syndrome in countries with limited resources, according to a study published 11 October in Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers.

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Eye-tracking device travels with toddlers

by  /  14 December 2011

Researchers have designed a light, mobile and wireless device that allows them to track infants’ gaze as they explore their environment, according to a study published in November in Child Development.

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New system screens for drugs that alter neuronal junctions

by  /  7 December 2011

A new technique efficiently screens for compounds that enhance or inhibit the formation of synapses, the junctions between neurons, according to a study published 25 October in Nature Communications.

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November 2011
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New genetic approach identifies autism candidate genes

by  /  30 November 2011

Regions of the genome that contain the same genetic variants on both copies of a chromosome are more likely to contain autism-associated genes than other parts of the genome, according to a study published 14 October in Human Genetics.

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Stem cell lines shed light on autism-related disorders

by  /  23 November 2011

Researchers have derived neurons from stem cells to investigate mutations that lead to Rett and fragile X syndromes.

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Mouse lines light up the brain’s off switch

by  /  16 November 2011

Researchers have engineered 20 mouse lines that allow them to manipulate genes in specific neuronal circuits. The resource, reported 22 September in Neuron, will allow researchers to better explore the role of interneurons, which dampen signals in the brain, in mouse models of autism. 

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