Illustration shows yellow landscape with blue sections and a lot of trains on paths with kids on the trains, going different directions.
Spectrum Microphone

Mapping the futures of autistic children

Researchers can roughly project what autistic children's lives will look like years down the road. But how good is their crystal ball — and what are its benefits?

By Elizabeth Svoboda
14 July 2021 | 18 min read
Tiny cortical organoids in petri dish
Spectrum Microphone

Year-old organoids echo genetic shifts seen at birth

3D cultures of human brain cells kept alive for more than a year undergo transitions in gene activity that resemble those seen in newborns, and may be used to study autism genes in postnatal stages of brain development.

By Laura Dattaro
8 March 2021 | 5 min read
Man working from home office.

INSAR 2020, from home

Like so many other events this year, autism’s biggest annual conference — the International Society for Autism Research meeting — was forced to go virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Spectrum
31 July 2020 | 15 min read
Illustration shows boy with bag of oranges, in landscape of food with DNA trailing around him
Spectrum Microphone

Diets may help autistic children with certain genetic profiles

No diet is likely to treat autistic people on a large scale, but diets based on a genetic profile may bring big benefits to a few.

By Martin Breuss, Joseph Gleeson
17 December 2019 | 6 min read

Smart genes; Neanderthal mini-brains; diabetes link and more

Autism and intelligence share genetic variants, researchers grow Neanderthal mini-brains and see overlap with autism, and maternal diabetes is an autism risk factor.

By Emily Willingham
29 June 2018 | 4 min read

Massive sequencing studies reveal key autism genes

Analyzing the sequences of more than 20,000 people, researchers have unearthed the largest and most robust list of autism genes so far, they reported today in Nature.

By Jessica Wright
29 October 2014 | 7 min read

Study uncovers link between autism risk gene, language

Mutations in TBR1, a candidate gene for autism, compromise its functions and its ability to bind its partners — including FOXP2. Alan Packer explores the gene’s emerging link to language.

By Alan Packer
30 September 2014 | 4 min read

Studies map gene expression across brain development

Now that genetic studies have implicated several hundred genes in autism, researchers are turning their attention to where and when in the healthy young brain these genes are expressed. The first two studies to tackle these questions appear today in Cell.

By Virginia Hughes
21 November 2013 | 7 min read
Isolated chromatin

Sequencing study uncovers new candidate genes for autism

A new candidate gene for autism, CHD8, may account for up to 0.4 percent of cases of the disorder, according to research published today in Science. CHD8 is one of six genes identified that together may contribute to one percent of autism cases.

By Emily Singer
15 November 2012 | 4 min read

Genetics: Analysis identifies new autism candidate regions

An analysis of large duplications and deletions of DNA has identified new candidate genes for autism in pathways linked to the disorder. The results were published 22 May in Human Molecular Genetics.

By Jessica Wright
19 June 2012 | 2 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

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