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The Brain

Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.

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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Mouse brains show different brain regions lighting up
News / Toolbox

Ultrasound probe reveals brain circuit activity in living mice

by  /  18 February 2021

A new high-resolution imaging device tracks brain activity in awake mice, enabling researchers to map neural circuits across the entire brain.

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Man reaches into cabinet while a woman looks on
News

Single neurons may power key ‘theory of mind’ skills

by  /  8 February 2021

A subset of brain cells signal when someone tries to infer another person’s thoughts, according to a new study.

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Serotonin proteins
News

Sensor helps scientists spy on serotonin activity in mice in real time

by  /  5 February 2021

A glowing protein tracks serotonin levels and location in the brains of living mice and could yield clues to the neurotransmitter’s role in autism.

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January 2021
Portrait of André Fenton.
Multimedia / Webinars

Webinar: André Fenton on rethinking dysfunction in fragile X model mice

10 February 2021

On 10 February, André Fenton spoke about rethinking dysfunction in fragile X model mice.

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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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In cortical-striatal assembloids, striatal neurons (magenta) derived from individuals with Phelan-McDermid syndrome fire more frequently than neurons from controls.
News / Toolbox

Brain ‘assembloids’ capture circuit flaws in syndrome tied to autism

by  /  21 January 2021

Merging 3D clusters of neurons that mimic different brain regions models the atypical electrical activity seen in an autism-related condition.

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DNMT3A protein attaches a methyl group tag onto the DNA base cytosine.
News

Autism-related conditions converge on same loss of DNA tags

by  /  20 January 2021

Mutations in the autism-linked gene DNMT3A lead to the behaviors and gene-expression changes seen in different neurodevelopmental conditions.

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girl about to catch a ball
News

Autistic children may have trouble predicting movements

by  /  15 January 2021

Autistic children may have a harder time catching a ball than non-autistic children do, possibly because they are less able to predict its trajectory.

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