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Modulated by Methylation

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report in Nature Biotechnology that DNA methylation could mediate genetic risk of rheumatoid arthritis. As our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports, the researchers profiled cytosine methylation marks, particularly focusing on CpG sites, in blood samples from about 350 rheumatoid arthritis cases and controls. The nine of their top 10 differentially methylated positions fell in MHC regions. And four CpG sites "showed an association between genotype and variance of methylation," the researchers write.

Johns Hopkins' Andrew Feinberg, the senior author of the paper, tells The New York Times that such epigenetic studies do not discount genetic susceptibility to disease. "Instead, it complements them," he says. "It is another arrow in the quiver."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.