Research image of two fluorescent-stained organoids.

CRISPR gives autism-linked genes a boost, rescues functioning

A modified form of the gene-editing tool increases the expression of CHD8 and SCN2A, showing potential for autism therapies.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
23 May 2024 | 5 min read
Research image of zebrafish forebrains.

Autism-related genes converge on microglia and dopamine in zebrafish

The findings add to the growing evidence that genes with disparate functions can play similar roles in brain development.

By Peter Hess
12 May 2023 | 4 min read
Illustration of neurons.
Spectrum Microphone

Chromatin remodeling tied to altered splicing in autism model

Exposing neurons to valproic acid, a well-known environmental risk factor for autism, disrupts their ability to generate different proteins from the same gene.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
7 February 2023 | 5 min read
A white mouse, brown mouse and black mouse stand inside a wooden circle against a blue background.
Spectrum Microphone

CHD8 mutation in 33 mouse strains yields range of traits

The findings put genetic background forward to help explain autism’s heterogeneity.

By Peter Hess
3 February 2023 | 5 min read
Three-dimensional structure of cells in the cerebellum.

Flexible genomic architecture undergoes major redesigns during cerebellum development

A new atlas reveals how the structural shake-ups within a cell’s genome differ by cell type and brain region over time.

By Angie Voyles Askham
13 November 2022 | 4 min read
An illustration of two scientists carrying a larger-than-life DNA strand on their shoulders.

Community Newsletter: Autism gene lists, genetic diversity in mouse models, an autism biomarker

This week, we’re bringing you some labors of love: a thread lamenting the autism field’s focus on gene lists, a study introducing genetic diversity in mouse models, and long-awaited results from a biomarker study.

By Michael Fergenson
4 September 2022 | 5 min read
Several strands of DNA with different openings at different points to show different functions for the same gene at different points in time
Spectrum Microphone

‘Double duty’ autism-linked genes upend conventional characterizations

What these genes do and how they affect autism depends on when in development they’re studied, despite what classic ‘gene ontology’ analyses say.

By Angie Voyles Askham
23 August 2022 | 8 min read
Ultrasound in black and white shows a pattern.

Heart anomalies abound in mouse models of autism

Of nine genetic models examined in a new study, all had some incidence of cardiac abnormalities. But the problems varied widely depending on the affected genes.

By Laura Dattaro
23 May 2022 | 4 min read
organoids in early stages of development.

Organoids show how mutations in top autism gene may lead to brain overgrowth in people

The loss of CHD8, a top autism gene, speeds up the production of certain neurons and leads to overgrowth in spheres of cultured brain cells.

By Peter Hess
19 April 2022 | 3 min read

Three autism-linked genes converge on tweaks to cells’ timing

Mutations in all three accelerate the maturation of inhibitory neurons, which could upset the brain’s balance of excitation and inhibition early in development.

By Angie Voyles Askham
2 February 2022 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read

Widely used calcium imaging protocol can lead to spurious results, new paper cautions

The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch