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PRS May Stratify Disease Progression Among Glaucoma Patients

A polygenic risk score may identify patients with early-stage glaucoma who are at risk of more rapid disease progression, a new study in JAMA Ophthalmology reports. Researchers from Flinders University in Australia examined genotyping and structural and functional glaucoma progression outcome data from more than 1,000 patients from the Progression Risk of Glaucoma: Relevant SNPs With Significant Association (PROGRESSA) study, a progressive, longitudinal study of individuals with early primary open-angle glaucoma. Patients with high polygenic risk — gauged at more than the top 5 percent of that of the general population — were at a higher risk of visual field progression after five years, as compared to the rest of the population. Meanwhile, those in the bottom 20 percent of PRS risk were at a lower risk of visual field progression over three years than the intermediate group. "Since treatment is initiated or escalated in response to glaucoma worsening and is highly effective at slowing progression, we would expect the true association of PRS with glaucoma progression to be even greater and would also anticipate a similar association between PRS and time to treatment initiation or escalation," the researchers add.

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.