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Genes

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

June 2021
Mouse neuron recordings showing different levels of activity before and after an encounter with an unfamiliar mouse.
News

Neural network captures noisy neurons in autism mouse model

by  /  18 June 2021

Mice missing the autism-linked gene SHANK3 use more neurons to engage in social behavior than control mice do, reflecting a more disorganized, less efficient brain signaling network.

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News / Toolbox

CRISPR tool creates long-lasting epigenome alterations

by  /  11 June 2021

A new spin on the classic CRISPR gene-editing tool can alter the genome’s chemical tags and suppress gene expression for months.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
News

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

by  /  4 June 2021

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

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Brown lab mice being handled by researchers.
News

Deleting rare autism gene leads to physical, social differences in mice

by  /  3 June 2021

Loss of the gene KMT5B stunts growth in male mice and leads to social difficulties in female mice, a new study suggests.

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News

Brain activity patterns may distinguish girls with autism

by  /  2 June 2021

Atypical patterns of neuronal activity and gene expression in the striatum may characterize autism in girls, according to a new study.

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May 2021
News

Stimulant restores cell signaling, eases behavior issues in animals missing autism gene

by  /  28 May 2021

Worms and zebrafish missing both copies of the gene CHD7 have disrupted cellular signaling, a dearth of inhibitory neurons and behavior changes — all of which are reversed by the stimulant drug ephedrine.

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DNA helix inside the human body
News

Autism genetics, explained

by  /  28 May 2021

The more scientists dig into DNA, the more intricate its contribution to autism seems to be. Here, we unravel the complex genetics of autism.

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Illustration of a researcher trying to navigate sea of genomic data.
News

Family approach yields new autism-linked genes

by  /  21 May 2021

About one-third of the HNRNP gene family’s 33 members may be associated with neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism.

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Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Sébastien Jacquemont and Clara Moreau: Why brain imaging signatures for autism are so elusive

by  /  20 May 2021

The field of neuroimaging will need to combine two strategies before it can find patterns of brain activity or structure unique to autism, the researchers say.

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Microglia activity seen in red, green and blue.
News

Autism mutation may cause big brain via ‘don’t eat me’ signals

by  /  17 May 2021

An autism-linked mutation could make the brain grow unusually large by prompting cells to express a chemical signal better known for its connection to cancer.

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