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CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Through a series of pooled CRISPR screening experiments, researchers from the Montreal Heart Institute have uncovered functional roles for a number of genetic variants that genome-wide association studies (GWAS) had previously associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). GWAS can identify genetic variants that increase the risk of various common diseases including CAD, for which more than 250 variants have been found. However, these studies cannot unambiguously pinpoint the genes responsible for the diseases. In this study, which appears in PLOS Genetics, the scientists carried out multiple CRISPR screens to test if known CAD variants impact vascular endothelial function. In total, they find 26 regions of the genome that include heart attack-associated variants and that influence the function of endothelial cells. In particular, the gene DHX38 was found to regulate vascular endothelial cell senescence, which, in turn, modulates how endothelial cells respond to stimuli that promote heart attacks.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.