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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.

April 2010

Scientists find molecular player in Angelman syndrome

by  /  27 April 2010

Two independent teams have discovered key molecular steps in the way a single gene disrupts the connections between neurons in individuals with Angelman syndrome. Because the gene, UBE3A, has also been linked to autism, the findings could help scientists understand and treat a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Researchers probe genetic overlap between ADHD, autism

by  /  22 April 2010

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism may have more in common than childhood onset and a few similar symptoms. New research suggests the conditions share genetic roots.

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Scientists finger neurexin 1 defects in autism

by  /  20 April 2010

Several studies in the past year in people, mice and honeybees have tied autism to a protein that helps neurons communicate. Problems with the protein, neurexin 1, are associated with a wide range of autistic behaviors, such as impaired social interactions, anxiety and problems with learning and memory.

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All together now?

by  /  19 April 2010

On 7 April, a group of investigators conducting autism genome sequencing projects met at the New York Academy of Medicine, aiming to establish the ground rules for a potential Autism Sequencing Consortium.

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Measuring expression

by  /  14 April 2010

To examine protein interactions inside brain cells, scientists typically zero in on one gene at a time. A new method described in today’s Nature simultaneously measures expression of the whole genome.

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Random genetic changes may explain variability in autism

by  /  13 April 2010

Random changes in gene expression can cause genetically identical embryos to develop different traits, according to a study of worms published in Nature. The findings suggest that haphazard movements of molecules could partly explain why autism-associated mutations don’t always cause the same symptoms.

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Psychiatry’s new game plan

by  /  12 April 2010

Writing in Science, leading scientists call for a 10-year, $2 billion international scheme that would combine the latest in genetics and animal research to combat psychiatric diseases.

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Rett gene found to control genome structure in neurons

by  /  9 April 2010

The protein that is mutated in Rett syndrome controls the expression of other genes by changing the way DNA packs into a cell, rather than turning genes on or off, according to a study published in Molecular Cell.

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Looming large

by  /  7 April 2010

How many people with autism are also obese?

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Mapping the brain

by  /  5 April 2010

The human brain holds a mind-boggling 100 billion neurons. Mapping their connections is the lofty goal of the Human Connectome Project, a $30 million scheme sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

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