Objectives: To leverage spatiotemporal gene expression data to build expression networks in a developmentally-relevant framework in order to converge ASD risk genes into functional pathways underlying ASD neurobiology.
Methods: Gene expression networks were constructed using spatiotemporal gene expression data in the developing brain.
Results: Gene expression networks containing ASD risk genes are dynamic across development. Clusters generated from correlation analyses of gene expression in the neocortex highlight the importance of early and mid-fetal development at a time when early synaptic connections are being formed in these regions.
Conclusions: Spatiotemporal brain expression analysis makes meaningful and testable predictions about ASD biology. As the number of risk genes increases, we expect far greater resolution to detect the biological processes, brain regions, and developmental periods fundamental to ASD neuropathology.
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