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Sneaky Sneaky

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A new study published in Nature Scientific Reports says that cancer-causing genetic mutations have "electronic signatures" that allow them to get past a cell's damage-repair mechanism, says the Futurity blog. Researchers from the UK and Taiwan used supercomputers to model all possible mutations for 162 disease-related genes, and found that the mutations associated with cancer cause a smaller change in the electronic structure of a DNA molecule than other mutations, Futurity says. This makes them less detectable as anomalies and they can therefore be skipped over by a cell's damage-repair process. "You could compare these disease-causing mutations to planes that use stealth technology to go undetected by defense systems like radar," says study co-author Rudolf Roemer. "Similarly the real-life mutations that show up in the medical databases are likely to be the ones that didn't have a sufficiently dramatic effect on the structure of the DNA when they first appeared, which is why they were not spotted and repaired early on by the body's molecular defense mechanisms." This study suggests that clinicians could one day use such electronic signatures to detect cancer much earlier, Futurity adds.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.