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Advanced Prostate Cancer Progression Linked to Copy Number Burden

A University College London-led team considers copy number alteration patterns in hundreds of advanced prostate cancer cases. With low-coverage whole-genome sequencing, the researchers profiled copy number patterns in 688 tumor samples collected prior to androgen deprivation therapy in 300 individuals with advanced prostate cancer. Along with specific copy number gains or losses, they identified broad copy number patterns that appeared to coincide with the presence of distant metastases or clinical outcomes over a median follow up time of seven years. "We make the novel observation that the burden of copy number alteration is non-linearly associated with risk of clinical progression and death in advanced prostate cancer, with an initial sharp increase in relative risk that reaches a plateau and could represent a threshold effect," the authors report, arguing that "copy number burden should be controlled for when evaluating individual gene alterations and could be further evaluated in prognostic tests for risk stratification of aggressive disease."

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.