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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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November 2011
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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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Researchers map genetic variation in mice

by  /  9 November 2011

Researchers have sequenced 17 laboratory mice and mapped 56.7 million single-base DNA variants in their genomes, according to a study published 15 September in Nature. A companion paper in the same issue identifies more than 700,000 structural variants, which are insertions, deletions or other modifications of DNA.

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Sequencing technique optimal for postmortem brains

by  /  2 November 2011

A technique for detecting gene expression that detects short RNA messages is better suited than traditional methods for analyzing postmortem brain tissue, according to a study published 10 September in BMC Genomics.

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October 2011
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Narrower amygdala scans lead to cleaner results

by  /  26 October 2011

Researchers have defined anatomical boundaries that minimize errors in brain-imaging measures of the amygdala, a region involved in emotion processing.

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Stem cells pinpoint players in nerve cell development

by  /  19 October 2011

Stem cells reprogrammed to become neurons can provide a picture of gene expression in neurons that is traditionally available only from brain tissue.

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Easy-to-make solution turns brains transparent

by  /  12 October 2011

Three common laboratory chemicals are all scientists need to create see-through brains ideal for visualizing complex neural circuits.

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Researchers engineer light-responsive strains of mice

by  /  5 October 2011

Researchers have engineered four new mouse lines that each show activation of a different subset of neurons in response to a blue light.

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September 2011
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Three-dimensional re-creation reveals dendrite shapes

by  /  28 September 2011

Researchers have created detailed three-dimensional reconstructions of the numerous complex branches of dendrites, the signal-receiving ends of neurons.

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Questionnaire distinguishes autism, developmental disability

by  /  21 September 2011

Researchers have optimized an early social screening questionnaire to distinguish autism from other developmental disabilities in preschool-aged children.

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Reference set for Prader-Willi, Angelman syndromes debuts

by  /  14 September 2011

Researchers have developed standard genetic reference samples that clinicians can use to diagnose Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes, two disorders associated with the same chromosomal region.

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