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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Multicolored mind: Fluorescent markers pinpoint cells inside a 'mini-brain' grown from human stem cells.M. Renner  et al. / The EMBO Journal

Lab-grown ‘mini-brains’ mimic brain development

by  /  28 April 2017

A new method for examining blobs of neurons known as ‘mini-brains’ reveals structures like those in the human brain.

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April 2017
Control strips: Certain RNAs do not become proteins, but instead regulate gene expression.Laguna Design / Science Photo Library
News / Toolbox

Molecular map outlines regulatory roles for RNA snippets

by  /  21 April 2017

A new atlas maps the locations of nearly 30,000 noncoding RNAs — genetic strips that may modify the expression of genes.

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Intricate image: A novel scanning technique reveals the branches of neurons inside the brain of an awake mouse.
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Clever tweaks give brain scans new dimension

by  /  14 April 2017

New improvements allow researchers to look at cells deep inside the mouse brain, make high-resolution movies of firing neurons and monitor brain activity in monkeys over months.

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Dazzling display: Children with autism often show unusual sensory behaviors, such as a fascination with lights.Solovyova /
 iStock
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Parent survey quantifies sensory quirks in autism

by  /  7 April 2017

A new questionnaire reveals the frequency and impact of sensory sensitivities in children with autism.

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March 2017
Biological profile: A new technique can distinguish three groups of human immune cells by their gene expression patterns.
News / Toolbox

Portable method profiles gene expression in single cells

by  /  31 March 2017

A new technique offers a fast, versatile way to measure gene expression in thousands of cells at once.

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Visual vocabulary: In a test of verbal ability, children point to a picture that represents a word.
 Amy Boelé
News / Toolbox

Test paints quick picture of intelligence in autism

by  /  24 March 2017

A picture-based test is a fast and flexible way to assess intelligence in large studies of people with autism.

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Shaping up: The structure of a protein produced by a computer program mirrors the actual structure as revealed by X-ray crystallography.
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Tool narrows search for elusive protein structures

by  /  17 March 2017

A new computer program can predict the 3-D structure of proteins at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

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Genetic puzzle: A new approach for finding risk variants considers data from multiple generations of a family.Hero Images / Getty Images
News / Toolbox

New method taps family trees for clues about conditions

by  /  10 March 2017

Asking participants in genetic databases about their family’s medical history can help researchers uncover genetic variants tied to conditions such as autism.

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Monkey minds: Two different brain imaging techniques reveal the brain of a rhesus macaque at 2 weeks, 3 months and 6 months of age.
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New atlases chart early brain growth in monkeys

by  /  3 March 2017

A collection of brain scans from monkeys aged 2 weeks to 12 months reveals how their brain structures and nerve tracts develop over time.

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February 2017
Seeing eye to eye: A camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses could allow researchers to track a child’s gaze outside of a lab or clinic.
News / Toolbox

Wearable camera captures eye contact in children with autism

by  /  24 February 2017

A camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses can reliably gauge a child’s tendency to look another person in the eye.

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Shine on: A mouse sports an implanted wireless device that stimulates neurons with light when it is switched on (red light).
News / Toolbox

With bright tricks, light leaves brain forever changed

by  /  17 February 2017

Using flashes of light, scientists can spark seizures, tweak cell junctions and motivate mice from afar.

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