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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Cells selected:  In this cross-section of a mouse brain, nerve fibers infected with a virus glow green.

By hacking cells’ DNA, virus traces brain activity patterns

by  /  25 November 2016

A mutant virus that infiltrates neurons and delivers genes to the nucleus can illuminate brain connections.

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November 2016
video game screen view
News / Toolbox

Fish game catches cognitive problems in children

by  /  9 November 2016

A video game that involves reacting to colored fish can help researchers spot subtle attention problems in children with certain conditions.

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Special delivery: Viruses ferry the gene for the light-sensitive protein opsin (green) to neurons using a DNA guide (red).Pitt Health Sciences / Cell
News / Toolbox

Light activates reward circuits in monkey brains

by  /  4 November 2016

A new method uses flashes of light to stimulate specific sets of neurons in monkey brains.

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October 2016
Using CRISPR to switch on specific genes makes mouse skin cells morph into neurons.
News / Toolbox

CRISPR hacks expand uses of gene-editing toolbox

by  /  28 October 2016

Tweaks to the popular gene-editing tool allow researchers to forge neurons from skin, swap the chemical tags on genes, and more.

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boy reading book under covers with flashlight
News / Toolbox

Tests unmask key traits in people with intellectual disability

by  /  21 October 2016

A set of seven standard tests can accurately assess cognitive capacities in people with various types of intellectual disability.

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Mighty mimics:  Laboratory-grown microglia, the brain’s immune cells, could offer clues to Rett syndrome.Rudolph Jaenisch
News / Toolbox

Chemical cocktail creates microglia on demand

by  /  14 October 2016

A new method transforms lab-made stem cells into microglia, the brain’s immune cells.

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modified version of CRISPR enters the cell nucleus only after it receives a chemical cue
News / Toolbox

Molecular ‘sandwich’ serves as switch for CRISPR

by  /  7 October 2016

Tucking CRISPR between two molecules allows researchers to toggle the gene-editing tool on and off.

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September 2016
Spatial scan: A new method labels thousands of neurons in a fraction of the time traditional approaches take.
News / Toolbox

Barcode trick traces paths of thousands of neurons in brain

by  /  30 September 2016

A new method labels neurons with barcodes to deduce their routes through the brain.

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20150701toolboxinjectable
News / Toolbox

Injected into the brain, silicon net slyly spies on neurons

by  /  27 September 2016

A new injectable electronic mesh enables researchers to gently eavesdrop on the chatter of hundreds of neurons inside the brain.

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Gene geography: A novel trick reveals where in a mouse brain three different genes (colored dots) are active
News / Toolbox

Method maps position of thousands of active genes in brain

by  /  23 September 2016

A new technique acts as a genetic geolocator, pinpointing the precise location of genes that are expressed in the brain.

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Routine screen: New tests that analyze DNA from blood and saliva may one day help doctors screen for fragile X syndrome and related disorders.  BlindTurtle / iStock
News / Toolbox

Quick, cheap tests decode fragile X mutation

by  /  14 September 2016

An inexpensive new set of tests allows researchers to rapidly analyze the genetic glitch underlying fragile X syndrome.

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