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Genes

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

August 2021
Micrograph showing highlighted genes related to autism in the thalamus.
News

Brain’s sensory processor may prompt memory problems in autism

by  /  19 August 2021

Mice with autism- or schizophrenia-linked mutations only in the anterodorsal thalamus have problems with long-term and working memory.

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Illustration of brain showing overexcited and underexcited parts of the brain represented by jagged and loose squiggles.
News

Disruptions to brain’s ‘thermostat’ may underpin autism traits

by  /  18 August 2021

Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.

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Young patient speaking to counselor.
Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Brenda Finucane: Building pipelines for genetic tests for autism

by  /  17 August 2021

Most autistic people do not receive the medically recommended genetic tests for autism. Brenda Finucane and her colleagues want to change that.

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News

Molecular overlap links tuberous sclerosis, fragile X

by  /  16 August 2021

Brain cells from the cerebellums of mice that model tuberous sclerosis show dampened levels of proteins controlled by FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome.

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Holly Stessman standing in her garden looking up and holding her two chickens.
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Holly Stessman

by  /  13 August 2021

When Holly Stessman isn’t probing autism genes, she is tending to her flock of chickens or seeking out the next great sci-fi movie.

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Colorful illustration of child's brain with electrodes connected EEG wave patterns, DNA strand, and playing siblings.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Connecting autism-linked genetic variation to infant social behavior

by ,  /  10 August 2021

Integrating genetic analyses into studies of babies’ brain development could help us understand how autism-related genes contribute to autism traits.

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Twin boys sleeping on green sheets.
News

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.

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News

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.

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Images shows a pyramidal neuron.
News

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.

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News

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.

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