Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Nature: Dec 12, 2013

In this week's Nature, researchers from Washington University report on the discovery of a new genetic risk variant for Alzheimer's disease. The team conducted whole-exome sequencing on DNA from 29 affected individuals and 11 unaffected people, from 14 families with histories of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. It discovered a rare variant in the phospholipase D3, or PLD3, gene that was associated with a significantly greater risk of the disease. Cell culture testing showed that higher levels of the PLD3 protein reduced amyloid-beta, which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, whereas lower levels of PLD3 increased amyloid-beta.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, investigators from the University of Toronto highlight the presence of DNase I cleavage bias in transcription factor footprint identification. The sequencing of DNase I hypersensitive sites, or DNase-seq, is widely used to identify cis-regulatory elements across the genome. In an analysis of genome-wide binding sites of 36 transcription factors, the group found that footprinting data from DNase-seq was informative for some of them, but uninformative for many others. The researchers determined that "intrinsic DNase I cutting biases, a factor that had not been adequately accounted for in previous footprinting studies, can be incorrectly interpreted as patterns induced by TF binding."

The Scan

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.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.