Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Science Touches on the Genetics of Human Sexuality, Liquid Biopsy for Early Detection of Cancer, More

Same-sex sexual behaviors stem from complex interactions between common genetic variants and environmental factors, underscoring the complexity of human sexuality, according to a large-scale genome-wide assocation study reported in this week's Science. Researchers performed a GWAS of 477,522 individuals, finding five loci significantly associated with homosexual behavior. In aggregate, all of the tested genetic variants accounted for 8 percent to 25 percent of variation in same-sex sexual behavior, and only partially overlapped between males and females. Importantly, they also do not allow meaningful prediction of an individual's sexual behavior, the study's authors state. "Comparing these GWAS results with those for the proportion of same-sex to total number of sexual partners among nonheterosexuals suggests that there is no single continuum from opposite-sex to same-sex sexual behavior," they write.

The Daily Scan's sister site, GenomeWeb Daily News, has more on this study here.


The utility and future potential of liquid biopsies to detect, characterize, and monitor cancers earlier than conventional methods is discussed by scientists from the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in a review appearing in Science Translational Medicine this week. The team reviews the types of liquid biopsies available and discusses their current applications for cancer screening and diagnosis, as well as tracking disease progress after intervention. The researchers also look forward over the coming years to "the day when liquid biopsies that detect cancers earlier become a routine part of preventive medicine."


A series of newly discovered epigenetic biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease is reported in Science Advances this week. Investigators developed and used cell culture models of neurogenesis to track DNA methylation modifications that occur in the cells, and compared their findings against an epigenetic dataset from healthy individuals and Alzheimer's disease patients. They find 27 genomic regions and 39 CpG sites associated with the disease that could be independently validated in models of both familial and sporadic Alzheimer's disease, as well as in an independent clinical cohort. Noting the diagnostic potential of their findings, the researchers state that "future investigations focusing on continually and thoroughly attesting these AD-specific epigenetic signatures in larger cohorts are warranted to ultimately turn these into even more reliable, reproducible, and verifiable signatures."

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.