Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

topic /

Genes

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

August 2021
Twin boys sleeping on green sheets.

Genetic roots of sleep issues, autism may be entwined

by  /  9 August 2021

The same genetic factors may underlie both autism and autistic people’s tendency to have sleep problems, such as insomnia.

Comments

Drugs boost serotonin, socialization in multiple autism mouse models

by  /  6 August 2021

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.

Comments
Images shows a pyramidal neuron.

How mutations in top autism gene could lead to seizures

by  /  5 August 2021

Deleterious mutations in an autism-associated gene can make neurons hyperexcitable, raising the risk of epileptic seizures.

Comments

Mutations in the noncoding genome contribute to autism

by  /  2 August 2021

Spontaneous mutations in parts of the genome that regulate gene EBF3 appear to contribute to autism risk.

Comments
July 2021

New tool maps cell types in lab-grown blobs of brain tissue

by  /  29 July 2021

The software compares gene expression in cells derived from organoids with a reference atlas of the developing mouse brain.

Comments

Ultra-rare variants point to new autism candidate genes

by  /  26 July 2021

A large, whole-genome sequencing study of families yields insights into ultra-rare genetic variants that contribute to autism.

Comments
Micrographs comparing motor cortex neurons in mice with and without an extra copy of MECP2 gene.

Blocking key pathway reverses brain, behavior changes in autism mouse model

by  /  19 July 2021

Neurons in mice with an autism-linked mutation sprout extraneous protrusions, an overgrowth accompanied by above-average motor learning. Inhibiting a cell signaling pathway reverses the effect.

Comments
Immature inhibitory cells surround mature neuron.

Critical time window flagged for autism gene’s influence

by  /  16 July 2021

A transplant of inhibitory neurons during the second week of life prevents social difficulties and a brain signaling imbalance in mice missing a copy of FOXG1.

Comments
Four brown lab mice in a cage, top-down view, with one mouse away from the group.

Autism-linked mutation may blur brain’s boundary between self, others

by  /  15 July 2021

A mutation in the autism-linked gene SHANK3 changes how neurons encode information about social agency in mice.

Comments

Patchwork mutations present a new frontier for autism research

by  /  12 July 2021

Mosaic mutations, which affect only some of the body’s cells, play a small but meaningful role in autism. Though they are difficult to study, researchers are working to master their complexity.

Comments