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Science News About Genetics

Inherited Variations in Noncoding Sections of DNA Associated with Autism

Science Update

A new study has identified an association between paternally-inherited rare structural variants in noncoding segments of genes and the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study adds to a growing body of research describing genetic contributors to ASD.

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Suspect Molecules Overlap in Autism, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Science Update

Depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder share some of the same patterns of suspect gene expression – molecular signatures.

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NIH Completes Atlas of Human DNA Differences that Influence Gene Expression

Science Update

NIH researchers have completed an atlas documenting how DNA influence human gene expression.

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Breakthrough Method Yields Trove of Neuron Subtypes, Gene Regulators

Science Update

Scientists have discovered a trove of neuronal subtypes by identifying their unique epigenomic signatures.

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Our Brains Harbor “Residual Echo” of Neanderthal Genes

Science Update

Researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a “residual echo” from our ancient past. The more a person’s genome carries genetic vestiges of Neanderthals, the more certain parts of his or her brain and skull resemble those of humans’ evolutionary cousins that went extinct 40,000 years ago.

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NIMH Grantee Wins One of Science’s Most Coveted Prizes

Science Update

NIMH grantee Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, has been awarded one of science’s most generous prizes. A German foundation presented the inventor of technologies that are transforming neuroscience with its 4 million euros Fresenius Prize.

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Estrogen Alters Memory Circuit Function in Women with Gene Variant

Science Update

Brain scans reveal that fluctuations in estrogen can trigger atypical functioning in a key brain memory circuit in women with a common version of a gene. Since working memory function is often disturbed in mental disorders, such gene-hormone interactions are suspect mechanisms that may confer risk.

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Delayed Walking May Signal Spontaneous Gene Anomalies in Autism

Science Update

Researchers have discovered a pattern of genetic glitches and behavioral features, such as delayed walking, in some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that could ultimately lead to identification of subgroups and improved treatment.

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A Third of Suspect Mutations in ASD Just “Noise”

Science Update

Researchers have narrowed suspected genetic causes of autism and related developmental disabilities by ruling out what they call the “noise of benign variation.”

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Sex Hormone–Sensitive Gene Complex Linked to Premenstrual Mood Disorder

Press Release

Researchers have discovered molecular mechanisms that may underlie a woman’s susceptibility to disabling irritability, sadness, and anxiety in the days leading up to her menstrual period.

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Molecular Tool Parses Social Fear Circuit Intertwined with Aggression Hub

Science Update

A genetic engineering tool has disentangled seemingly hopelessly intertwined brain circuits for social fear and aggression in mice.

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Worldwide Study Seeks to Unlock the Brain’s Genetic Code

Science Update

Big data pinpoints genetic variation linked to brain volume and risk for disorders.

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NIH Nearly Doubles Investment in BRAIN Initiative Research

Press Release

NIH’s third round of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative total just over $150 million.

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Powered-Up Probe ID’s Schizophrenia Genes That Stunt Brain Development

Science Update

Scientists have pinpointed several schizophrenia-related gene variants that alter expression of other genes in illness-implicated circuitry of the human brain.

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Schizophrenia, Autism Risk Gene Trajectories Point to Shared Causes

Science Update

Schizophrenia, autism risk gene trajectories point to shared causes

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Tapping Crowd-Sourced Data Unearths a Trove of Depression Genes

Press Release

Scientists have discovered 15 genome sites – the first ever – linked to depression in people of European ancestry. But – in a twist – the researchers didn’t have to sequence anyone’s genes! Instead, they analyzed data already shared by people who had purchased their own genetic profiles via an online service and elected to participate in its research option.

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Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

Science Update

Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

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Schizophrenia’s Strongest Known Genetic Risk Deconstructed

Press Release

Versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure.The gene switched on more in people with the suspect versions, who faced a higher risk of developing the disorder.

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NIH-supported NeuroBioBank Joins Autism BrainNet in Brain Donation Initiative

Press Release

Two of the world’s largest brain tissue banks unify efforts to collect and distribute a critical number of brain donations for important autism research.

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A Patient’s Budding Cortex -- in a Dish?

Press Release

Scientists have perfected mini cultured 3-D structures that grow and function much like the outer mantle – the key working tissue, or cortex – of the brain of the person from whom they were derived.

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GTEx Findings Reveal New Insights into how DNA Differences Influence Gene Activity, Disease Susceptibility

Press Release

Data resource begins to reveal how genetic variability influences key tissues in health and disease.

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Disorders Share Risk Gene Pathways for Immune, Epigenetic Regulation

Science Update

Risk genes for different mental disorders work through same pathways

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Largest Autism Gene Dragnet Fingers 33 Prime Suspects

Science Update

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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Schizophrenia’s Genetic “Skyline” Rising

Press Release

The largest genomic dragnet of any psychiatric disorder to date has unmasked 108 chromosomal sites harboring inherited variations in the genetic code linked to schizophrenia, 83 of which had not been previously reported.

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Common Gene Variants Account for Most Genetic Risk for Autism

Press Release

Most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches.

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Shining a Light on Memory

Press Release

Using a flash of light, scientists have inactivated and then reactivated a memory in genetically engineered rats. The findings – the first cause-and-effect evidence that strengthened connections between neurons are the stuff of memory – add to mounting evidence that the brain represents a memory by forming assemblies of neurons with strengthened connections.

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Genes Impact Suspect Cortex Areas More as Youth Mature

Science Update

Later evolving and maturing brain areas, which also are those most implicated in mental illness, showed gradually increasing heritability, peaking by late adolescence – the age-of-onset for most mental disorders. New findings hold promise for understanding how age plays an important role in gene-environment interactions that underlie the disorders.

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