Implications for language development, autism and epilepsy. Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have found that a gene already implicated in human speech disorders and epilepsy is also needed for vocalizations and synapse formation in mice. The finding, they say, adds to scientific understanding of how language develops, as well as the way synapses — the connections among brain cells that enable us to think — are formed. A description of their experiments appears in Science Express on Oct. 31.
Fluorescence image of a neuron labeled for synapses (green) and cell structure (magenta). Credited to Yoichi Araki/Johns Hopkins Medicine.