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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Genes

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

March 2021
Scanning elecgron micrograph of Faecal bacteria.

Gut microbes shape social behavior in autism mouse model

by  /  26 March 2021

Treating mice missing the autism-linked gene CNTNAP2 with a strain of gut bacteria makes them more social but no less hyperactive.

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Top autism-linked gene has divergent effects on brain growth in mice

by  /  25 March 2021

Mutations in CHD8 lead to brain overgrowth or undergrowth in mice, depending on how they affect the gene’s expression.

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Brain made of DNA strands on a background of molecule shapes

There are no autism-specific genes, just brain genes

by ,  /  23 March 2021

There is not yet a single example of a gene that, when mutated, increases the likelihood of autism but not of other neurodevelopmental conditions, including intellectual disability.

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Innate stress response may link maternal infection to autism

by  /  19 March 2021

A typically protective stress response could help to explain the connection between maternal illness and neurodevelopmental conditions.

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Oligodendrocyte shown orange on black in this scanning electron micrograph.

How oligodendrocytes may shape autism

by  /  15 March 2021

A growing body of evidence shows that brain cells called oligodendrocytes may play a larger role in autism than previously thought.

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mouse brain neurons highlighted pink and green.

New technique tunes in to molecular chatter in neurons

by  /  11 March 2021

Researchers have devised a way to use fluorescent sensors to detect many different signaling molecules in a cell at once.

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Street view in Ricuarte, Colombia

Colombia lags behind in fragile X syndrome testing, diagnosis

by  /  10 March 2021

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.

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A digital rendering of a green neuron on black

Brain activity jump-starts autism-linked genes in human neurons

by  /  5 March 2021

Some neurons activate autism-linked genes when they fire, according to a new study.

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A lone Rhesus macaque looks into the camera

New macaque reference genome fills sequence gaps

by  /  4 March 2021

Researchers have created the most complete macaque reference genome to date and used it to catalog genetic variation among hundreds of monkeys.

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Broken protein bridge linked to Rett syndrome traits

by  /  1 March 2021

Altering a protein linked to Rett syndrome so that it cannot bind to a methylation tag in neurons results in Rett-like traits in mice.

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