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Genes

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

January 2021
dopamine neurons in mice show up green in an area of the brain associated with social reward.
News

Dopamine neurons may dampen social behavior in mouse model of autism

by  /  12 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene PTEN show a reduced preference for social interaction, possibly due to atypically large, overconnected dopamine neurons. Easing the overconnection may alleviate this trait.

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Neurons show structural changes, seen in black and white.
News

Loss of a top autism gene may alter neuron structure

by  /  12 January 2021

Mutations in the autism-linked gene ASH1L change how neurons grow and develop.

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A mosaic made of different colors of maize (corn) kernels depicting DNA.
News

Two studies highlight role of ‘mosaic’ mutations in autism

by  /  11 January 2021

Mutations seen in only some of the body’s cells often affect gene activity in the brains of people with autism, and can involve large segments of DNA, according to two new studies.

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grid of clocks showing different times
News

Missing autism gene may affect time perception in mice

by  /  11 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene NRXN1 appear to perceive some time intervals as shorter than control mice do, according to a new study.

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organoids in early stages of development.
News

Organoids show how mutations in top autism gene may lead to brain overgrowth in people

by  /  11 January 2021

The loss of CHD8, a top autism gene, speeds up the production of certain neurons and leads to overgrowth in spheres of cultured brain cells.

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Colorful CT scan of a zebrafish head.
News

Zebrafish strains reveal broad effects of autism genes

by  /  11 January 2021

Mutations in autism-linked genes lead to a variety of changes in brain activity, sensory perception and sleep-wake cycles in zebrafish.

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Illustration shows the hands of researchers selecting parts of a DNA helix for secure shredding.
News

‘Sanitizing’ functional genomics data may prevent privacy breaches

by  /  8 January 2021

A new technique for masking portions of raw genomic data increases shareability without sacrificing privacy.

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human and mouse cells.
News / Toolbox

Atlas pair profiles fetal gene expression, regulation in single cells

by  /  7 January 2021

A pair of new atlases that profile millions of cells across 15 organs offer an unparalleled look at gene activity during fetal development.

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lab mice
News

Mice with autism-related mutations show brain signaling imbalance

by  /  4 January 2021

Mutations in POGZ, a gene strongly linked to autism, lead to a signaling imbalance in multiple brain regions in mice, according to two new studies.

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December 2020
White lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand.
Features / Special Reports / Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

Notable papers in autism research, 2020

23 December 2020

Gene therapies and the factors influencing autism traits top Spectrum’s list of the 10 most notable research findings we covered in 2020.

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