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Diabetes Protection, Favorable Fat Features Linked to Liver Gene Mutations in Exome Study

In Nature Communications, researchers from the Regeneron Genetics Center and other centers in the US, Sweden, Italy, Mexico, and the UK describe rare coding variants in a liver-expressed gene called INHBE that appear to not only coincide with more favorable fat distribution and metabolic patterns, but also dial down the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The team dug into exome sequences for 618,375 individuals from the UK, Sweden, and Mexico, focusing in on 16 fat distribution-associated genes. Calling body fat distribution "a major, heritable risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, independent of overall adiposity," the authors went on to more fully characterize predicted protein-truncating changes to the circulating growth factor gene INHBE, demonstrating that the inhibin beta-E protein it encodes can impact fat storage and the risk of related downstream conditions such as T2D. "Our results suggest that blocking inhibin beta-E may be a therapeutic approach for promoting metabolic health," they write, "and uncover biological interplays between liver and adipose tissue in energy storage."

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.