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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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May 2016
Trading bases: Researchers used a gene-editing system to open up the DNA coil, giving access to an enzyme that switches DNA letters.
News / Toolbox

New gene-editing system can swap single DNA letters

by  /  25 May 2016

A tool that allows researchers to switch one DNA letter with another may help them evaluate the change’s consequences.

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Connectivity map: Patterns of increased (red) and decreased (blue) connectivity among brain networks (circles) may be useful for spotting children with attention problems.
News / Toolbox

Atlas of brain connectivity can flag attention problems

by  /  18 May 2016

A new set of charts shows how brain connections can change as children grow, and can serve as a reference for detecting problems with attention.

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Sleepy solution: Mice treated with the anesthetic isoflurane show less blood flow in the brain over time (blue, top) than do those given the drug etomidate (bottom).
News / Toolbox

Fast-acting anesthetic sharpens images of rodent brains

by  /  11 May 2016

A chemical commonly used in emergency rooms can anesthetize mice and rats for brain scans without distorting the images.

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20160510-ZebrafishEmbryos-568
News / Toolbox

New tool lights up edits to zebrafish genome

by  /  4 May 2016

A new gene-editing system allows researchers to rewrite lengthy stretches of DNA in zebrafish and identify the mutant fish with ease.

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April 2016
Double trouble: A new imaging system allows researchers to read the activity of two different neuron types (green and purple) in the same brain region in mice.
News / Toolbox

Flexible tool watches brain talk as mice walk

by  /  27 April 2016

A new brain imaging system lets researchers eavesdrop on mouse neurons as the animals move around and interact with each other.

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Genetic puzzle: Understanding how pieces of DNA work together to shape gene expression could provide clues to autism.
Valdo Peixoto and Daniel Marbach
News / Toolbox

New atlas of gene regulators shows effects of variants

by  /  20 April 2016

A new online tool reveals how different types of DNA sequences work together to regulate gene expression.

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Double-take: A new molecular tool silences the gene for a heart muscle protein (green) in cultured cells.
News / Toolbox

Molecular knob dials down gene activity

by  /  13 April 2016

A new method harnesses the gene-editing system CRISPR to fine-tune gene expression in human cells.

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Mouse connections: A new method of clearing the brain allows for a deep look into a 2-millimeter slice of a mouse brain.
News / Toolbox

New way to see through brains reveals minute cell structures

by  /  7 April 2016

A new chemical cocktail that renders brains transparent allows a powerful microscope to resolve minute details within the brain.

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March 2016
Short circuit: Depriving immune cells called T cells of oxygen and nutrients coaxes them into becoming different types (left and far left) of electrically active, mature neurons.
News / Toolbox

Culture trick transforms immune cells into neurons

by  /  30 March 2016

A new method allows scientists to chemically coax immune cells in blood into becoming mature neurons.

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Test-tube mice: Researchers have created mice from stem cells carrying the DNA of an individual neuron, including the gene for a red fluorescent protein.
News / Toolbox

Method maps each neuron’s unique genetic fingerprint

by  /  23 March 2016

Sequencing the whole genomes of individual mouse neurons reveals that each cell carries roughly 100 unique mutations.

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