• The “brain organoids” that resulted are just a few millimeters in diameter but mimic the basics of early human brain development, roughly corresponding to the first few months of gestation. When the researchers analyzed the patient organoids, they uncovered altered expression networks for genes controlling neuronal development.
  • “This study speaks to the importance of using human cells and using them in an assay that could bring a better understanding of the pathophysiology of autism and with that, possibly better treatments,” according to Vaccarino. The success of the approach also suggests that similar methods might be used to gain important insights into other human developmental diseases that have until now been difficult to crack open.
  • The researchers are now using their new findings to home in on the difficult-to-find mutations or epigenetic changes responsible for the gene expression alterations and neuronal imbalance observed in the study.

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