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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Hot links: A radioactive tracer that tags proteins in synapses (yellow) highlights the density of neuronal connections.

New tool spotlights neuron junctions in living human brains

by  /  19 August 2016

A new imaging technique allows researchers to illuminate the junctions between neurons in a living person’s brain.

Previous articles

August 2016
Fast forward:  Gene expression patterns in the monkey visual cortex (red box) are similar to those in people during infancy (top brains), childhood (bottom left) and adulthood (bottom right).
News / Toolbox

Maps reveal genetic landscape of developing monkey brain

by  /  12 August 2016

Researchers have charted gene expression in the brains of rhesus macaques from before birth into adulthood.

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Speed read: A new tool sorts neurons from the human brain into two broad types and 16 subtypes (colored dots) based on their gene expression profiles.
News / Toolbox

Software supplies snapshot of gene expression across brain

by  /  5 August 2016

A new tool provides speedy analysis of gene expression in individual neurons from postmortem brain tissue.

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July 2016
Dynamic duo: Two proteins (green) work together to fine-tune the activity of neurons in zebrafish.
News / Toolbox

Protein duo can tweak signaling balance among neurons

by  /  29 July 2016

A fusion of two proteins can silence the activity of specific neurons in the zebrafish spinal cord.

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Mighty merger: New software can sift and sort pieces of gene expression data gleaned from a microarray (left).
News / Toolbox

Online tool can mix, match gene expression data

by  /  22 July 2016

A new resource helps biologists easily mine large troves of information about when and where genes are expressed.

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Bacterial loan: An enzyme taken from Leptotrichia shahii can bind to and cut messenger RNA.
Professor Oscar L. Miller / Science Source
News / Toolbox

With new part, CRISPR can cut RNA in living cells

by  /  15 July 2016

A new version of the gene-editing tool CRISPR can target and cut RNA, offering a way to tinker with the expression of autism genes.

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Double duty: CRISPR can simultaneously tag a protein of interest (green) and delete another (pink).
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Gene-editing tool locates proteins inside brain cells

by  /  8 July 2016

The popular gene-editing tool CRISPR can tag proteins in the brain, illuminating the whereabouts of autism candidates.

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June 2016
Making marks: Genome-editing enzymes in zebrafish introduce mutations in a DNA ‘barcode’ that accumulate over generations.kazakovmaksim / iStock.com
News / Toolbox

Gene-editing tool used to map lineage of cells

by  /  29 June 2016

Researchers have repurposed CRISPR, the popular gene-editing tool, for tracing cell lineages in whole organisms.

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Laws of attraction: Neurons expressing a magnetically sensitive protein (right) show a spike in calcium levels when exposed to a magnet.
News / Toolbox

‘Magneto’ manipulates behavior of freely moving mice

by  /  22 June 2016

A magnetically sensitive protein allows researchers to switch on neurons in freely moving mice and zebrafish.

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Smell test: In mice with trimmed whiskers, neurons become unusually active (bright yellow) in sensory areas of the brain governing the mouth and nose when they explore their surroundings.
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New ‘camera’ produces panoramic images of brain activity

by  /  15 June 2016

A program called ClearMap allows researchers to take a snapshot of neuronal activity across the entire brain of an adult mouse.

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Hot zone: Some stretches of DNA serve as landing strips for regulatory proteins, and minor changes to these sequences may influence a person’s risk of autism. ktsdesign / Shutterstock.com
News / Toolbox

DNA typo tracker uncovers glitches in gene regulation

by  /  8 June 2016

A new tool allows researchers to identify thousands of genome errors in dozens of people at once.

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