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Study Links MicroRNAs to Range of Psychiatric Disorders

A new study appearing in Human Mutation this week implicates microRNAs in a range of psychiatric disorders, shedding new light on the mechanisms underlying such conditions. MiRNAs have been increasingly studied for their possible role in psychiatric disease in light of the importance of these small, noncoding RNAs in gene expression and translation. Seeking to expand upon this work, scientists from the University of Newcastle set out to determine whether common genetic variation within miRNA binding sites contributes to the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. They intersected genome-wide association study summary statistics with dbMTS, a database of putative human miRNA target site single-nucleotide variants and their functional predictions, to uncover miRNA binding site variants (MBSVs) and putative gene pathways affected by these variants in nine psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, autism, and anorexia nervosa. The researchers also find a significant enrichment of MBSVs in several of the disorders, as well as evidence for aggregation of MBSVs within pathways relevant to synaptic function. The study results, they write, suggest that MBSVs may be contributors to psychiatric disorders and may prove to be valuable targets for future research into disease origins and novel treatments.

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.