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Study Uncovers New Clues About the Genetics of Heart Disorders

A shared genetic background between left ventricular maximum wall thickness (LVMWT), a biomarker of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is reported in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine this week, offering new insights into the genetic determinants of these heart disorders. LVH, a condition in which the wall of the left ventricle is thickened, has a well-established role in HCM, which impairs the heart's ability to pump blood and can lead to sudden cardiac death. The genetic determinants that drive this condition, however, are poorly understood. A team led by scientists from Queen Mary University of London has now performed a genome-wide association study of LVMWT of more than 42,000 European individuals included in the UK Biobank and analyzed the findings against data from the international Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Registry. They uncovered 21 genomic loci associated with LVMWT, several of which contain variants with known genetic associations to HCM. The researchers also find that a genetic risk score for LVMWT could predict the risk of HCM. "These findings provide new avenues for future research endeavors to elucidate the genetic determinants of HCM," the study's authors write

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.