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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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December 2017
six brain slices with birdseye view of brains
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Automated method maps neuronal connections specific to autism

by  /  1 December 2017

A software package identifies bundles of nerve fibers in brain-imaging data, revealing connections unique to people with autism.

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November 2017
Neurons in a mouse brain glow green after a virus carrying specialized molecular tools edits their genomes.
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Viral sidekick allows CRISPR to reliably edit neuron DNA

by  /  24 November 2017

A new trick involving a virus gives the CRISPR enzyme system the ability to edit the genome of a neuron more predictably than was previously possible.

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Neurons (green) generated from a human stem-cell line carry one of six mutations associated with schizophrenia, autism or intellectual disability.
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New technique ramps up editing of genes in stem cells

by  /  17 November 2017

A novel method allows researchers to rapidly generate stem-cell colonies with mutations linked to autism or other conditions.

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High-frequency sound waves reveal changes in blood flow that correspond to seizure activity.
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Tool taps sound waves to trace seizure activity in newborns

by  /  9 November 2017

A new ultrasound device provides high-resolution movies of blood flow through the brains of infants.

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Mini-brains made from stem cells contain several types of cells found in developing human brains.
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Simple recipe dishes up realistic ‘mini-brains’

by  /  3 November 2017

A simple method for growing spheres of brain cells yields more realistic replicas of the brain than traditional techniques do.

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October 2017
This digital map reveals three neuron populations (shown separately and overlaid) in the mouse brain.
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Maps chart inhibitory neurons across mouse brain

by  /  27 October 2017

The numbers and types of neurons that dampen brain signals vary by brain region and sex.

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A new resource charts the locations of two types of chemical modifications to chromosomes (top, middle) and gene expression changes (bottom) in brain tissue.
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Databases describe DNA ‘dials’ that control gene expression

by  /  20 October 2017

Two new resources catalog how genetic variants affect gene expression in the brain.

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Room full of filing folders on shelves
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Repository ties mutations to traits in Phelan-McDermid syndrome

by  /  13 October 2017

A new database details the genetic mutations associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, along with the behavioral outcomes of people with those mutations.

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A new method analyzes gene expression to identify more than a dozen cell types in human brain tissue.
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Droplet technique probes gene expression in brain tissue

by  /  6 October 2017

A new method offers an efficient way to examine gene expression in individual cells from postmortem brains.

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September 2017
One virtual world for fruit flies includes a cavernous space with a pole at the center.
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Virtual reality provides precise control of animal behavior

by  /  29 September 2017

A new tool can track fish, flies or mice as they navigate a virtual environment and interact with other animal ‘avatars.’

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