Researchers in Spain compare molecular features of two forms of high-grade neuroendocrine lung cancer: large-cell neuroendocrine cell carcinoma (LCNEC) and small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). The team generated mouse models of each conditions by dialing down the expression of tumor suppressor genes such as TP53, RB1, or PTEN in different cell types in animals carrying a recombinant adenovirus under the control of a cytomegalovirus promoter. The investigators found that deletion of tumor suppressor genes in lung epithelial cells produced mice with LCNEC, while SCLC occurred when the tumor suppressors were inactivated in basal cells. "Molecular and transcriptomic analyses of both models revealed strong similarities to their human counterparts," they report, noting that it was possible to find and follow progression of these tumors using molecular imaging methods.
A University of Pennsylvania-led team digs into ancient DNA data to retrace human height over thousands of years in European populations. With published DNA profiles for 1,071 ancient individuals from Western Eurasia stretching back some 38,000 years, the researchers used a polygenic risk score to predict individuals' standing height, comparing these genetic predictions to height estimates made from 1,159 skeletal samples. They found that genetically predicted and observed height tracked together over time, revealing a dip in European height going into the Mesolithic Age, for example. "This study provides a model for interpreting phenotypic changes predicted from ancient DNA and demonstrates how they can be combined with phenotypic measurements to understand the relative contribution of genetic and developmentally plastic responses to environmental change," the authors write. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia, the University of California, Los Angeles, and other centers present a DNA methylation-based aging clock that appears to be accurate in children. Using buccal epithelial cell samples from more than 1,000 typically developing individuals under 20, the team identified 94 cytosine methylation marks that accurately predicted age in almost 700 more children. In a series of follow up experiments, the authors saw a small increase in methylation age in a few dozen children with autism spectrum disorder, and they note that their "Pediatric-Buccal-Epigenetic," or PedBE, clock "might help in understanding the environmental and contextual factors that shape the DNA methylome during child development." GenomeWeb also covers this study, here.