Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.

News / Toolbox
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.
Common cause: Many people with mutations in a gene called TRIP12 share characteristic features.

Rare mutation linked to autism affects language ability

by  /  24 April 2017
Mutations in a gene called TRIP12 — which is involved in tagging proteins for destruction — can lead to intellectual disability, language delay and autism.
Features / Webinars

Webinar: Michael Platt discusses monkey models for autism

24 May 2017
Reserve your spot for this webinar. Register now.
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.

Illustration by Julia Yellow
Opinion / Viewpoint

Mighty element plays major part in autism

by ,  /  18 April 2017

Probing the function of a protein in a calcium signaling pathway may lead to a diagnostic test for autism and a path toward treatments.

DNA decor: Cells dot DNA with molecules to dial down gene expression at those spots. shunyufan / iStock

Enigmatic chemical tag is altered in autism brains

by  /  17 April 2017

An understudied chemical modification that influences gene expression is abundant in the brains of people with autism.

Refining risk: Rare mutations that turn up in the general population are unlikely to contribute to autism.shironosov  / iStock

Analysis winnows list of mutations tied to autism

by  /  6 April 2017

As many as one in three rare mutations seen in people with autism may have nothing to do with the condition.

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.

X marks the spot: Girls with Rett syndrome have one mutant copy of MeCP2, a gene on the X chromosome.Maurizio De Angelis / Science Source

Muting X chromosome silencers may serve as remedy for Rett

by  /  30 March 2017

Manipulating pathways that help silence the X chromosome may help treat Rett syndrome, a condition closely related to autism.

Delayed action: Children with autism who have de novo mutations in key autism genes tend to walk later than other children with the condition. HIKARU VISION / Getty Images

Rare autism mutations linked to distinct sets of features

by  /  29 March 2017

Children who carry certain rare mutations linked to autism learn to walk late — but have less severe social and language difficulties than do other children with the condition.

Illustration by Michela Buttignol

‘Triple-hit’ study may help explain autism’s male bias

by  /  20 March 2017

The absence of an autism-linked gene, combined with exposure to a mock infection, produces social deficits in mice — but only in males.

Shaping up: The structure of a protein produced by a computer program mirrors the actual structure as revealed by X-ray crystallography.
News / Toolbox

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.

Shared shyness: Social difficulties in children with autism can resemble social withdrawal, a feature of schizophrenia. Jonas Hafner / Getty Images

DNA deletion sparks separate outcomes of autism, schizophrenia

by  /  16 March 2017

In children with a deletion on chromosome 22, having autism does not boost the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.

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