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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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October 2013

New sequencing technique may reveal recessive mutations

by  /  23 October 2013

A new method of genetic analysis allows researchers to identify regions that are identical on both copies of a chromosome, according to a study published 20 September in Molecular Cytogenetics.


Automated tool spies on multiple mice simultaneously

by  /  16 October 2013

Researchers have developed software that can automatically track and catalog the behavior of up to four mice at once, according to a study published 16 September in PLoS One.


Researchers grow large batches of neurons for drug screening

by  /  9 October 2013

Researchers have optimized the production from stem cells of large numbers of a subtype of neurons involved in cognitive function. The technique, published 20 August in Translational Psychiatry, could generate enough neurons for large-scale screening of drugs.


New behavioral test uncovers autism mouse’s stubbornness

by  /  2 October 2013

Researchers have developed a new test that reveals complex repetitive behaviors in BTBR mice, a mouse strain with features resembling those of autism, according to a study published 27 August in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.

September 2013

New method uses light to toggle gene expression

by  /  25 September 2013

Researchers have modified optogenetics — a technique that activates neurons in mouse brains with beams of light — to toggle a gene on or off. They reported the advance 22 August in Nature.


Rett syndrome mutation alters motor function in zebrafish

by  /  18 September 2013

Mutating MeCP2, the gene linked to Rett syndrome, in zebrafish allows researchers to investigate the disorder early in development, according to a study published 16 July in Frontiers in Neural Circuits.


Technique probes gene expression in intact tissue

by  /  11 September 2013

A new method allows researchers to highlight mutations in individual cells without first isolating the cells from the surrounding tissue, according to a study in the August Nature Methods.


Rats armed to catch up to mice as top mammalian model

by  /  4 September 2013

Researchers have developed a method to engineer rats so that they lack a certain gene in only select regions of the brain, they report in the July issue of Nature Methods.

August 2013

Genetic switch labels active neurons in mouse brains

by  /  28 August 2013

A new method, described 5 June in Neuron, allows researchers to tag only those neurons that are active during the following 12-hour time window.


New genetic background elicits aggression in mouse model

by  /  21 August 2013

Mice lacking neurexin-1, an autism-linked protein that helps stabilize the junctions between neurons, are highly aggressive, according to a study published 28 June in PLoS One. These mice share a consistent genetic background, which may account for this being the first social deficit seen in mice lacking this protein. 


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