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Hitting the Methylation Marks

A DNA-based colon cancer test may help to diagnose the disease earlier, reports the New York Times. Instead of relying on mutational testing, a new test from Madison, Wis.-based Exact Sciences looks for highly methylated DNA. In cancer cells, the Times says, DNA is usually less methylated, except for certain spots "where the methylation process is taken to excess, perhaps because the cells need to shut down tumor suppressor genes." And so, Exact's test looks at the methylation of four markers, and was, the Times adds, 100 percent accurate in a lab test — though it is expected to be less accurate when tested using real-world stool samples.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.