Clues that problems with mitochondria contribute to autism have been accumulating for decades. In the past five years, a mutant mouse and a flurry of findings have energized the field.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Autism involves mutations in noncoding portions of the genome in at least 3 percent of people with the condition. The mutations occur in regions that help regulate known autism-linked genes.
Over the past century, scientists have used a variety of animal models to advance their understanding of the developing brain and autism.
In the past two decades, some autism researchers have turned to simple animals, such as roundworms, fruit flies and zebrafish, for their investigations. Others have sought answers from experiments with frogs, birds and even octopuses.
Steve Warren co-discovered the genetic mechanism that underpins fragile X syndrome and was a generous, inspiring mentor to many.
The finding that MDMA and an experimental serotonin agonist increase sociability across six different model mice suggests that disparate autism-linked mutations converge on the same underlying pathways.
People with fragile X syndrome in Colombia are diagnosed at age 27, on average, according to the first study to assess diagnosis in the country. By comparison, the average age of fragile X diagnosis in the United States is younger than 4.
Some neurons activate autism-linked genes when they fire, according to a new study.