Cells extracted from baby teeth, which fall out on their own, may be better suited than skin cells for making induced neurons to use in autism research, suggests a study published 3 October in PLoS One.
One of the largest genome-wide screens of methyl tags in postmortem brains has found that people with autism have three unique regions of methylation — chemical modifications that affect gene expression. The results were reported 3 September in Molecular Psychiatry.
Researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which a candidate drug for Angelman syndrome activates UBE3A, the gene that is silenced in the syndrome, according to a study published 20 August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A new database pools health registry data from seven countries, dramatically boosting sample sizes for epidemiological studies of autism.
Researchers have debuted the most comprehensive map to date showing how the suite of methyl tags on the DNA of brain cells changes across the genome over a lifetime. The map, published 4 July in Science, suggests that shifting patterns of methylation may guide key periods of brain development.
RORA, an autism candidate gene, encodes a protein that binds more than 2,500 other genes and alters the expression of some of those genes, according to a study published 22 May in Molecular Autism.
Epigenetics, or the chemical markings on DNA that affect gene expression, plays a role in some cases of autism, according to a study of 50 identical twins published 23 April in Molecular Psychiatry.
Infection during pregnancy may alter the chemical tags that are added to histones, proteins that form a spool for DNA, according to a study published 9 February in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Drugs that target these tags may treat neuropsychiatric disorders, the researchers say.