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Science News About Genetics

Gene Readouts Contribute To Distinctness of Mental Disorders

Press Release

A new study conducted by researchers at NIMH suggests that differences in the expression of gene transcripts – readouts copied from DNA that help maintain and build our cells – may hold the key to understanding how mental disorders with shared genetic risk factors result in different patterns of onset, symptoms, course of illness, and treatment responses.

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NIH-funded Study Sheds Light on Abnormal Neural Function in Rare Genetic Disorder

Press Release

A genetic study has identified neuronal abnormalities in the electrical activity of cortical cells derived from people with a rare genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

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Study Shows Highly Reproducible Sex Differences in Aspects of Human Brain Anatomy

Press Release

A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain.

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Schizophrenia Risk Gene Linked to Cognitive Deficits in Mice

Press Release

Mice with an impaired version of one the few genes definitively linked to schizophrenia showed abnormalities in working memory, mimicking those commonly seen in schizophrenia patients.

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Gene Regulators Work Together for Oversized Impact on Schizophrenia Risk

Press Release

Gene expression regulators work together to raise an individual’s risk of developing schizophrenia. Schizophrenia-like gene expression changes modeled in human neurons matched changes found in patients’ brains.

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2,000 Human Brains Yield Clues to How Genes Raise Risk for Mental Illnesses

Press Release

PsychENCODE researchers are discovering the biological mechanisms by which mental illness risk genes work in the human brain.

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NIH BRAIN Initiative Debuts Cell Census of Mouse Motor Cortex – for Starters

Press Release

NIH BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) has debuted its first data release, which focuses on motor cortex. In a related development, researchers have discovered cellular secrets of key social behaviors – mating, parenting, and aggression – in mouse hypothalamus.

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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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