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Genes

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

September 2020
Illustration shows two long rows of vials with genetic information inside, the shadows they cast are in the shape of humans.
Features / Deep Dive

How scientists secure the data driving autism research

by  /  30 September 2020

Protecting the privacy of autistic people and their families faces new challenges in the era of big data.

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White lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand.
News

Silencing ‘poison exon’ eliminates deadly seizures in mice

by  /  24 September 2020

A new treatment curbs deadly seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

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Micrograph of a mitochondria.
News

Fragile X syndrome traits may stem from leaky mitochondria

by  /  11 September 2020

Plugging a leaky mitochondrial membrane may help fragile X neurons to mature and function more efficiently.

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Colorful chart showing variants in chromosomes.
News

Scan of genomes for inherited variants lays bare new autism candidate

by  /  10 September 2020

Lowered expression of a gene called DDHD2 may increase a person’s likelihood of having autism, according to a new analysis.

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Neurons in a macaque cortex express parvalbumin in red.
News / Toolbox

Virus-based method manipulates inhibitory neurons in brains

by  /  9 September 2020

A new viral tool can selectively control different types of neurons that dampen brain activity in rodents, monkeys and people.

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Zebrafish embryos with various deformities.
News / Toolbox

CRISPR technique knocks down gene expression in animal embryos

by  /  2 September 2020

A new method that suppresses gene expression in the embryos of fish and mice may help researchers study autism genes in early development.

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August 2020
Two mice side-by-side.
News

Drug improves social behaviors, oxytocin signaling in autism mouse model

by  /  31 August 2020

Mice missing the autism gene NLGN3 have altered social behaviors and brain responses to the hormone oxytocin, both of which improve after treatment with a drug that helps regulate protein production.

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Series of micrographs showing neurons with Rett syndrome mutations lacking liquid compartments around DNA.
News

DNA droplets may be key to Rett syndrome, researchers say

by  /  27 August 2020

Mutations in the MECP2 gene, which are associated with autism and Rett syndrome, interfere with a cell’s ability to form droplets of DNA that silence gene expression.

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Proteins binding to RNA, illustration.
News / Toolbox

Massive encyclopedia catalogs genome’s regulatory regions

by  /  26 August 2020

The most comprehensive catalog to date of DNA regions that modify gene expression is helping researchers uncover the role these segments play in autism.

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RNA, transcription
News

Antidote to ‘poison’ DNA may treat lethal form of epilepsy

by  /  26 August 2020

An experimental drug silences a DNA segment and seems to prevent seizures and death in a condition related to autism.

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