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Genes

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

February 2021
Singing zebra finches
News

Autism gene interference silences song memory in birds

by  /  19 February 2021

Muffling expression of an autism-linked gene in a key song-related area of the brain renders young zebra finches unable to learn songs from older birds.

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Transmission Electron micrograph shows mitochondria colored an aqua blue.
News

Changes to mitochondrial DNA spur autism-like traits in mice

by  /  17 February 2021

Mice with a mutation in their mitochondrial DNA show altered brain activity, repetitive behaviors and reduced sociability, according to a new study.

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News

Genetic variants in protein target sites may contribute to autism

by  /  12 February 2021

Mutations that disrupt binding sites in RNA molecules may play a role in autism and a variety of psychiatric conditions, according to a new study.

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cells in a mouse brain show the mutations in green.
News / Toolbox

Molecular switch marks mosaic mutations in mice

by  /  11 February 2021

A new tool enables researchers to create mosaic mutations in only some cells and then accurately identify which cells are affected.

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News

Mutations in frogs point to autism genes’ shared role in neurogenesis

by  /  10 February 2021

Mutations in any of 10 autism-linked genes in frogs lead to the same overabundance of brain cells that develop into neurons; the sex hormone estrogen lowers this excess.

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four figures overlapping in red and blue with multi-colored genetic info
News

Common variants link autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome

by  /  2 February 2021

Genetic variants that contribute to autism may also be involved in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette syndrome, according to a new study.

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Heatmap plot showing how each genetic variant plus autism group differed.
News

Copy number variations linked to autism have diverse but overlapping effects

by  /  1 February 2021

People with mutations in distant chromosomal regions often share a range of autism traits, even if they do not meet the diagnostic threshold for autism.

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January 2021
News / Toolbox

Method may improve safety of gene therapies targeting the brain

by  /  28 January 2021

A new approach for delivering gene therapy to the brain reduces nerve damage in primates and could help make gene therapies for conditions related to autism safer.

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Mouse brain slices shown in red
News

Vasopressin relieves social deficits in an autism mouse model

by  /  25 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of MAGEL2 have trouble discerning between a familiar mouse and an unfamiliar one; treating them with the social hormone vasopressin reverses this deficit.

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Molecular model of histone protein which wraps up DNA strands.
News

New condition hints at structural protein’s role in autism

by  /  22 January 2021

Mutations in genes that encode a histone, which gives structure to chromosomes, can lead to developmental delay and congenital anomalies.

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