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December 2014
Features / Special Reports / 2014 Year in review

Tomorrow’s tools

22 December 2014

For 2014, rather than compile the ‘top tools and techniques’ — a list certain to include CRISPR and other technical tricks detailed in our weekly Toolboxes — we asked researchers to dream up the next big tool in autism research. Their wishes range from protein sequencers to scanners that can capture brain activity during daily activities.

November 2014

Calcium sensor leaves permanent mark in activated neurons

by  /  17 November 2014

Researchers have engineered a fluorescent sensor that irreversibly switches from green to red when a neuron fires, thereby serving as a permanent mark of neuronal activation. They described the unpublished work Monday at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

October 2014

Autism-linked deletion sparks symptoms via many genes

by  /  23 October 2014

Deletion or duplication of 16p11.2, a chromosomal region linked to autism, may trigger symptoms via the interactions of genes both within and outside the region at a key point in development. Researchers presented these preliminary results Sunday at the 2014 American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting in San Diego.

August 2014

‘Thunder’ promises lightning-fast analysis of big brain data

by  /  14 August 2014

Researchers have developed a set of software tools called Thunder that can find meaningful patterns in large-scale data on brain activity.

July 2014

Cluster of symptoms reveals gene’s link to autism subtype

by  /  3 July 2014

CHD8, a gene that regulates the structure of DNA, is the closest thing so far to an ‘autism gene,’ suggests a study published today in Cell. People with mutations in this gene all have the same cluster of symptoms, including autism.

Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Nicholas Katsanis: Fishing for autism genes

by  /  1 July 2014

Cell biologist Nicholas Katsanis explains why zebrafish have been key in studying a chromosomal region linked to autism.

June 2014
News / Toolbox

Sophisticated camera captures all firing neurons

by  /  18 June 2014

A new imaging technique can capture the activity of every neuron in a zebrafish larva or a roundworm. Researchers described the method, which is at least ten times faster than others, in Nature Methods.

News / Toolbox

Light corrections illuminate a path into fish brains

by  /  11 June 2014

Taking a page from astronomy’s playbook, researchers have developed a way to take dramatically clear pictures of the inner workings of a zebrafish brain.

November 2013

Close look at autism-linked region reveals complex biology

by  /  27 November 2013

Deletion and duplication of the 16p11.2 chromosomal region have opposite effects on brain size, but produce similar alterations in the brain’s processing of sound. Researchers reported these and other unpublished findings at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, painting a complex picture of the region’s role in autism.


Rabies-like virus, robot make contact with single neurons

by  /  14 November 2013

A new technique allows researchers to track the movement of a molecule along a single neuron’s projections. The technique, adapted for zebrafish, was presented Monday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.