Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Genome Biology: Apr 23, 2014

A team from Estonia and Sweden takes a look at DNA methylation patterns in a range of somatic human tissues. Using array-based methods, the researchers profiled 17 tissue types taken from four deceased individuals at the time of autopsy. Across the almost half a million methylation-prone cytosine sites considered, the group found that just 2 percent had high methylation across the full suite of somatic tissues tested, while another 15 percent were regularly methylated at low levels. Many of the remaining sites showed methylation patterns that varied depending on the tissue considered, the study's authors reporting, including loci near genes with known roles in tissue-specific biology.

Korean researchers used a combination of whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing to characterize matched tumor and normal samples from 14 South Korean individuals with diffuse type gastric cancer and several more individuals with a form of intestinal-type stomach cancer. In the process, they not only identified recurrent driver mutations in the stomach cancers, but also uncovered differences between the typical somatic mutation rates for each gastric cancer type. For example, the team tracked down several new mutations and copy number changes in the E-cadherin-coding gene CDH1, which were particularly common in the diffuse type gastric cancer.

A UK-, China-, and Australia-led team that included members of the UK Brain Consortium describes a rise in methylation across coding sequences of a hippocampus development-related gene called ZBTB20 in individuals with major depressive disorder. The investigators first found this major depressive disease-associated hypermethylation using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing on samples from 50 pairs of identical twin pairs from the UK or Australia who were discordant for the condition. The results were subsequently verified in another 356 unrelated individuals with or without major depressive disease, as was a general jump in methylation variability in affected individuals.