DNA Methylation

By Christoph Bock, Max Planck Institute for Informatics via Wikimedia Commons

If you caught the last issue of our magazine, hopefully you saw our interview with Stephen Scherer. If that’s the case, you’ll be familiar with the great work NPJ Genomic Medicine are doing as a journal.

Their latest release is this fantastic paper on predicting disease from DNA modifications. Finding these modifications is exceptionally challenging, but Atsushi Shimizu of Iwate Medical University in Japan and his colleagues did just that. They found them in over a hundred apparently healthy individuals, and found two million regions that could be potential targets. Using previous data they showed that these regions are far more likely to change during the course of disease than genomic loci that are unchanged in all subjects. 

As things stand, it’s only possible to profile around 20% of the genome for disease-specific methylation changes at the very most. Thanks to these published results, we have a much better idea of which 20% we should be focusing on!

More on these topics