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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.

December 2021
Mouse cortex micrograph

Mutation in new autism candidate gene disrupts social brain area

by  /  16 December 2021

Mice missing a copy of the gene SENP1 have atypical social behavior likely due to a signaling imbalance in the retrosplenial cortex.

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Glial cells star in autism-linked gene expression analysis

by  /  15 December 2021

Many genes linked to autism are switched on in the brain’s glia, cells that help neurons develop and synapses form.

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Illustration of DNA helix highlighting the methylation process.

DNA methylation in autism, explained

by  /  13 December 2021

How chemical tags called methyl groups position themselves on genetic sequences may hint at some of the causes of autism.

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Nighttime crowded Shanghai street scene with illumination from electric and neon signs.

New resource tracks genetic variations in Han Chinese populations

by  /  9 December 2021

An online database called NyuWa catalogs genetic variations among nearly 3,000 individuals and provides a comprehensive reference genome for the Han people.

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Myelin loss may explain how autism-linked DNA deletion affects cognition

by  /  8 December 2021

Deleting a copy of the gene TBX1 depletes the fatty myelin insulation that surrounds neurons and reduces cognitive speed in mice.

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Birdsong-related DNA sequences tied to autism-linked genes

by  /  6 December 2021

Genes that appear to play a role in some birds’ ability to learn songs are frequently mutated in autistic people.

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November 2021
A gloved-hand holds up a vial against a background of colorful lights that represent a sequenced genome.

Genetic effects stack up in some people with autism

by  /  23 November 2021

Rare variants that alter the expression of genes in the brain contribute to autism in people who also have a rare autism-linked mutation, according to a new study.

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New gene-editing tools delete long stretches of DNA

by  /  17 November 2021

Two new methods make it possible to delete long sections of the genome, expanding the reach of CRISPR gene editing.

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Gene therapy for rare form of autism may treat another

by  /  11 November 2021

A MECP2 gene therapy for Rett syndrome eases repetitive behaviors, anxiety and hyperactivity in a mouse model of Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.

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Dispatches from SfN 2021: Mitochondria, Rett therapy and oxytocin

These short reports from Spectrum journalists highlight some of the autism-related findings that caught our attention at the meeting this past week.

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