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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.

Normal mouse brain (left) vs brain in mouse lacking POGZ gene (right)

Top autism-linked gene boosts DNA accessibility during development

by  /  10 January 2022
Loss of the POGZ gene in mice makes certain genes inaccessible and prevents their expression.
Cerebral cortex transcript

Alternate RNA versions of genes may shape autism

by  /  7 January 2022
Autism may involve different levels of RNA isoforms encoded by genes in the brain, which express many more proteins than previously thought.
Series of micrographs of synapses in stressed mice with mutated SHANK3 gene showing high expression of HOMER1A protein and loss of SHANK3.

Autism-linked gene primes stress vulnerability in mice

by  /  3 January 2022
In mice with a mutated copy of SHANK3, stress induces social deficits and alters gene expression in certain excitatory neurons. But eliminating a stress-related protein that regulates SHANK3 restores typical social functioning in the animals.
December 2021

Trends in autism research 2021

23 December 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, Spectrum recaps some of the biggest trends in autism science this year: studies of sex differences, noncoding regions of the genome and points of convergence, as well as efforts to improve screening and participatory research.

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Cluster of traits tied to rare mutations in autism-linked gene

by  /  20 December 2021

Developmental delay, intellectual disability and behavioral issues are common among people who have mutations in MYT1L, a gene with strong ties to autism.

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Mouse cortex micrograph

Mutation in new autism candidate gene disrupts social brain area

by  /  16 December 2021

Mice missing a copy of the gene SENP1 have atypical social behavior likely due to a signaling imbalance in the retrosplenial cortex.

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Glial cells star in autism-linked gene expression analysis

by  /  15 December 2021

Many genes linked to autism are switched on in the brain’s glia, cells that help neurons develop and synapses form.

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Illustration of DNA helix highlighting the methylation process.

DNA methylation in autism, explained

by  /  13 December 2021

How chemical tags called methyl groups position themselves on genetic sequences may hint at some of the causes of autism.

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Nighttime crowded Shanghai street scene with illumination from electric and neon signs.

New resource tracks genetic variations in Han Chinese populations

by  /  9 December 2021

An online database called NyuWa catalogs genetic variations among nearly 3,000 individuals and provides a comprehensive reference genome for the Han people.

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Myelin loss may explain how autism-linked DNA deletion affects cognition

by  /  8 December 2021

Deleting a copy of the gene TBX1 depletes the fatty myelin insulation that surrounds neurons and reduces cognitive speed in mice.

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Birdsong-related DNA sequences tied to autism-linked genes

by  /  6 December 2021

Genes that appear to play a role in some birds’ ability to learn songs are frequently mutated in autistic people.

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November 2021
A gloved-hand holds up a vial against a background of colorful lights that represent a sequenced genome.

Genetic effects stack up in some people with autism

by  /  23 November 2021

Rare variants that alter the expression of genes in the brain contribute to autism in people who also have a rare autism-linked mutation, according to a new study.

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New gene-editing tools delete long stretches of DNA

by  /  17 November 2021

Two new methods make it possible to delete long sections of the genome, expanding the reach of CRISPR gene editing.

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