The mitochondria candidate: Is the cell’s powerhouse a hidden factor in autism?

Illustration of mitochondria as a kind of Stonehenge, with the shapes standing upright, casting shadows, against a blue sky.
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Mitochondria mediate effects of PTEN mutations

Whole-genome sequencing data — which include information about mitochondrial DNA — offer clues to why mutations in the same gene can lead to autism or cancer.

By Katie Moisse
26 June 2023 | 4 min read
lllustration of the junction between two nerve cells.
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Multi-omics study captures CNTNAP2’s far-ranging effects

The in-depth approach shows mutations in the autism-linked gene disrupt neuronal growth and communication, as well as mitochondrial gene expression.

By Charles Q. Choi
8 December 2022 | 4 min read

Unlocking the mitochondrial genome for autism research

The DNA specific to mitochondria is difficult to access, but new methods place its secrets within reach.

By Laura Dattaro
1 June 2022 | 5 min read

Mitochondria: An energy explanation for autism

People with autism have more mutations than others do in both mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA that affects mitochondrial function.

By Laura Dattaro
22 November 2021 | 3 min watch
Stylized illustration combines flat color and 3D forms make up a mitochondria with human heads inside it.

Meet the ‘mitomaniacs’ who say mitochondria matter in autism

Clues that problems with mitochondria contribute to autism have been accumulating for decades. In the past five years, a mutant mouse and a flurry of findings have energized the field.

By Laura Dattaro
22 November 2021 | 18 min read
Transmission Electron micrograph shows mitochondria colored an aqua blue.
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Changes to mitochondrial DNA spur autism-like traits in mice

Mice with a mutation in their mitochondrial DNA show altered brain activity, repetitive behaviors and reduced sociability, according to a new study.

By Laura Dattaro
17 February 2021 | 4 min read

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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