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Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis Prevalence, Genetic Contributors Found With UK Biobank Data

Calico Life Sciences researchers reporting in Nature Communications search for genetic contributors to a condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), which is marked by osteophyte formation between neighboring vertebrae and related vertebral fusions. Starting with a machine learning method aimed at identifying DISH-related features based on some 40,000 bone density scans for participants in the UK Biobank's imaging cohort, the team saw signs of DISH in some 8 percent of women over 45 years old and roughly 20 percent of men in that age group. By bringing in genetic profiles for these UK Biobank participants, the authors narrowed in on a handful of loci in and around several bone remodeling genes, along with genetic and phenotypic ties to overall increases in bone mineral density. "Overall, this study describes genetics of DISH and implicates the role of overactive osteogenesis as a key driver of the pathology," they report.

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.