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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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December 2011

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.


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.


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.

November 2011

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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.

October 2011

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.


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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