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The multiple standardized clinical measurements that make up one’s lifetime path through health and disease are essential information for yourself and your healthcare system. Aggregated into a population cohort study across a single-payer network, these data become an extraordinary tool for improving the efficiency of healthcare delivery and new discoveries in genomic medicine.
Maternal high-fat diet has a negative impact on fertility—including an apparent direct effect on early development. In this issue, a new study connects this phenotype to depletion of Stella protein in oocytes, demonstrating environmental regulation of a maternal-effect gene.
Alterations in craniofacial size and shape are apparent in many monogenic diseases and syndromes, but remarkably little is known about the genetics of face shape within healthy populations. This may be set to change following publication of a study that combines unsupervised hierarchical spectral clustering and canonical correlation analysis to help identify common genetic variants associated with craniofacial shape.
This Perspective describes different study designs for the genetic analyses of large-scale cohorts, using Dutch cohorts as primary examples, and discusses lessons learned as well as recommendations for future cohort studies.
The clinical phenotype associated with BRD4 haploinsufficiency overlaps with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which is often caused by mutations in NIPBL. The authors show that BRD4 and NIPBL physically interact and co-bind at super-enhancers.
This study presents a map of sequence constraint in humans based on 11,257 whole-genome sequences and 16,384 heptamers. The map identifies regulatory elements among the most constrained regions of the genome and will aid interpretation of noncoding variants.
Exome-wide analyses identify low-frequency coding variants associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. One of the risk variants, in CYP26B1, is associated with enhanced enzymatic activity and lower levels of all-trans retinoic acid in serum.
Biallelic loss-of-function mutations in TGFB1 are reported in three individuals with severe infantile inflammatory bowel disease and neurodevelopmental delay. These findings highlight a critical role for TGF-β1 in human intestinal homeostasis and central nervous system development.
Whole-exome sequencing identifies mutations in CLCN2 in individuals with familial hyperaldosteronism type II or early-onset primary aldosteronism. These gain-of-function mutations cause chloride channel opening and glomerulosa cell depolarization, showing a role for anion channels in aldosterone production.
A gain-of-function mutation in the CLCN2 chloride channel gene (encoding ClC-2) causes primary aldosteronism. The mutation abolishes voltage-dependent gating of ClC-2, highlighting a role for chloride conduction in regulating aldosterone biosynthesis.
Meta-analysis of data from 58,265 cattle shows that the genetic architecture underlying stature is similar to that in humans, where many genomic regions individually explain only a small amount of phenotypic variance.
The authors report map-based cloning of the wheat Stb6 gene, which encodes a conserved wall-associated receptor kinase (WAK)-like protein. Stb6 confers gene-for-gene disease resistance to fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici by recognition of a matching pathogen effector.
Identification of AvrStb6, the fungal avirulence effector that triggers Stb6-mediated resistance in wheat, here demonstrates that neither host resistance nor fungicide treatment suppresses fungal sexual reproduction, thus unveiling implications of fungal sex in plant disease control.
A new GWAS of schizophrenia (11,260 cases and 24,542 controls) and meta-analysis identifies 50 new associated loci and 145 loci in total. The common variant association signal is highly enriched in mutation-intolerant genes and in regions under strong background selection.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 58 traits using data from the Biobank Japan Project identifies 1,407 loci, 679 of which are novel. Comparison with disease GWASs and analysis of genetic correlations and cell-type enrichment show that these clinical measurements are relevant to human disease.
Genome-wide association analysis using electronic health record data from >94,000 individuals identifies loci associated with plasma lipid concentrations. Longitudinal measurements allow for the calculation of genetic risk scores and increase the variance explained.
The authors report a data-driven approach to phenotyping 3D facial shape. They apply their methodology to 2,329 individuals of European ancestry and identify 38 loci that associate with specific facial morphologies, some of which overlap with neural-crest-specific regulatory regions.
Analysis of chromatin accessibility and expression quantitative trait loci in stimulated or naïve macrophages identifies loci that constitutively alter chromatin but affect expression only after stimulation, thus indicating an effect on enhancer priming.
The authors find that, in a high-fat diet (HFD) mouse model, levels of Stella protein are reduced in oocytes, leading to abnormal epigenetic patterning during development and to embryonic growth defects. Overexpression of Stella in oocytes from HFD-fed mice partially ameliorates developmental defects.
The authors show that TET2 is recruited to chromatin by the RNA-binding protein PSPC1. PSPC1 and TET2 contribute to ERV and ERV-associated gene regulation by both transcriptional repression via histone deacetylases and post-transcriptional destabilization of ERV RNAs through 5hmC modification.
The authors report that DNA methylation coevolves with the DNA alkylation repair enzyme ALKB2 across eukaryotes. They also show that DNA methyltransferases cause alkylation damage in vitro and in vivo by introducing 3-methylcytosine into DNA.