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Complex Trait Mechanisms Informed by Metabolome-Mediated Gene Expression Analysis

For a paper appearing in eLife, researchers at the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics present a multi-omic Mendelian randomization (MR) approach for exploring complex trait-related gene expression patterns influenced by metabolites. After teasing out apparent ties between the transcriptome and metabolome in whole blood samples using expression quantitative trait locus and metabolite QTL data for thousands of individuals from prior studies, the team used transcript-metabolite and metabolite-trait relationships to tease out 216 "transcript-metabolite-trait causal triplets" with apparent ties to 26 complex phenotypes ranging from body traits or blood markers to cardiovascular features. "We show that … signals missed by transcriptome-wide MR are found, thanks to the increase in power conferred by integrating multiple omics layer," the authors explain, noting that "we developed a modular MR framework that has increased power over classical MR approaches to detect causal transcript-to-phenotype relationships when these are mediated by alteration of metabolite levels and is likely to become increasingly powerful upon release of larger [molecular QTL] datasets."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.