Using stem cells to trace autism’s development to earliest days of pregnancy

| | January 15, 2019
autism
Image credit: Max Pixel
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Figuring out how autism starts is complicated.

[A] large international team obtained skin cells from eight autistic people and five controls. These were converted into stem cells and then induced to develop along a pathway that leads to brain-like neurons.

..

[Researchers] identified three distinct groups of genes (which they termed “modules”) that defined distinct stages of the developmental process. You can think of these stages as pre-neuron, neural stem cell, and maturing neuron.

[W]hile normal cells might reach a given stage of gene activity at day four, those from autistic patients might reach that at day two. This accelerated pace was also apparent in the physical changes the cells undergo as they mature.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Blacks raise questions about racial stereotyping of autism diagnoses and therapies

The timing of all of this suggested to the authors that the problems in these autistic individuals came from the process of forming neural stem cells.

[T]he results do indicate that, at least in some individuals with autism, problems start extremely early. In humans, neural stem cells are specified before three weeks into the pregnancy—a point when many people aren’t even aware or certain they’re pregnant. Depending on how general this is, that may mean that interventions at the earliest stages of autism—either by directly addressing the problem or by limiting any environmental influences that promote autism—is pretty unlikely.

Read full, original post: Stem cells used to trace autism back to the formation of neurons

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend