CHOOSEn fate: one brain organoid’s tale on Autism

Does the human brain have an Achilles heel that ultimately leads to Autism? With a revolutionizing novel system that combines brain organoid technology and intricate genetics, researchers can now comprehensively test the effect of multiple mutations in parallel and at a single-cell level within human brain organoids. This technology, developed by researchers from the Knoblich group at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Treutlein group at ETH Zurich, permits the identification of vulnerable cell types and gene regulatory networks that underlie autism spectrum disorders. This innovative method offers unparalleled insight into one of the most complex disorders that challenge the human brain with implications that bring autism clinical research much-needed hope. The results were published on September 13 in Nature.

Microscopy image and artistic representation of the CHOOSE system in a human brain organoid. Left half: Confocal image of a CHOOSE (CRISPR-human organoids-scRNA-seq) human brain organoid mosaic system showing cells carrying a mutation in red. Right half: a mosaic depiction of different colors representing single cells, each carrying a mutation in one high-confidence autism gene. ©Knoblich Lab / IMBA-IMP Graphics

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