Common variants

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
Brain imaging Microphone

Common genetic variants shape the structure of the cortex

A genome-wide association study lays a foundation for deeper investigation of these variants in neurodevelopmental conditions.

By Lauren Schenkman
18 September 2023 | 5 min listen
Research image of organoids in the forebrain.

Head size parts autism into two major subtypes

An imbalance in the number of excitatory neurons in early brain development may account for the difference.

By Charles Q. Choi
12 September 2023 | 4 min read
Blurry photograph of a crowd of people on a street.

Some who lack autism diagnosis carry variants tied to the condition

The variants are associated with slight differences in measures of intelligence, income and employment, but the relationship may not be causal.

By Charles Q. Choi
13 July 2023 | 4 min read
Composite research image of organoids at several stages of development.
Spectrum Microphone

Genetic background sways effects of autism-linked mutation

Experiments offer clues to why certain mutations are associated with autism in some people and not others.

By Charles Q. Choi
18 May 2023 | 4 min read
X chromosome against a dark background.

Common and rare autism-linked variants share functional effects

Within the 16p region of the genome, the two types of variants similarly decrease neuronal gene expression — an effect that may reflect their spatial relationship.

By Nora Bradford
1 December 2022 | 4 min read
Photograph of a parent crossing a city street with two children
Spectrum Microphone

A mix of common and rare variants shapes autism inheritance patterns

The study also reveals a link between language development and common variants.

By Katharine Gammon
4 November 2022 | 3 min read
Conceptual illustration of two DNA helixes with several overlapping portions showing common and differing genes.
Spectrum Microphone

Genome scan spots common variant differences between autism and ADHD

Common variants in five regions of the genome may determine whether someone has one condition versus the other.

By Charles Q. Choi
12 October 2022 | 5 min read
A pregnant woman and another figure are obscured by shadows.
Spectrum Microphone

Maternal genetics may confound studies of autism’s link to prenatal factors

Women who carry genetic variants tied to autism have an elevated chance of experiencing pregnancy-related events linked to the condition in their children.

By Charles Q. Choi
2 August 2022 | 5 min read
Illustration of two figures in a field of black circles representing genetic risks. The circles surround the figure on the left and stay farther away from the figure on the right.
Spectrum Microphone

Common inherited variants tied to autism show sex bias in families

Siblings of autistic females are more likely to have autism than siblings of autistic males are, and mothers of autistic children carry more common, autism-linked variants than fathers do.

By Chloe Williams
23 June 2022 | 6 min read

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By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

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By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read
A digitally distorted image of a file folder against a blue gradient background.

Data access changes to UK Biobank stir unease in neuroscientists

“I feel a little bit in limbo,” says neuroscientist Stephanie Noble, who has paused a study using Biobank data after the repository shifted from a data download to a cloud-only access model.

By Calli McMurray
16 July 2024 | 7 min read