Genetics

Effects of Poverty Make Their Mark on 1,500 Genes in the Body

A study conducted by Northwestern University researchers has found that long-term poverty can be “embedded” across the genome. Lower socioeconomic status was found to be associated with levels of DNA methylation, a key epigenetic mark that can influence expression, across more than 1,500 genes.

Depression Not Caused by Genetics Alone, Study Finds

A new large-scale study of depression, analysing more than 620,000 individuals, has found that there is no single gene for the disorder, rewriting years of hypotheses and striking a blow to clinical agencies who hoped to create diagnostic tools and treatments for the faulty genes.

New Sequencing Test for Huntington’s Could Cut Short Results Waiting Time by Weeks

A collaboration between Viapath, NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre has created the world’s first nanopore-based genetic sequencing test for Huntington’s disease, now available at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. If successful, the test could cut waiting time for complicated Huntington’s cases, and could have big ramifications for other disorders in the future.

More Than 13,000 Genetic Edits Made to Single Cell

Harvard College researchers have announced that more than 13,000 genetic alterations have been made to a single cell using CRISPR technology. This work is designed to edit genomes at a much larger scale than currently possible.

Expanded StrataNGS Test Analyses 500 Genes in Advanced Cancer Patients

Oncology and precision medicine company Strata Oncology has announced the launch of its expanded StrataNGS test 3.0 for patients with advanced cancer. The test analyses 500 genes for three particular immunotherapy biomarkers, microsatellite instability (MSI), tumor mutational  burden (TMB) and PD-L1, to better inform use of precision treatments.

Biogen’s Lead Alzheimer’s Drug Falls Down at Phase Three Trials

Pharma giant Biogen and its Japanese partner Eisai have made the decision to halt two phase 3 trials of aducanumab, a drug created to slow Alzheimer’s by targeting brain-destroying beta-amyloid fragments. An independent monitoring committee decided that the drug was unlikely to benefit patients compared with a placebo.

Gene Insertion Allows Blind Mice to See Again

Scientists from the University of California have announced a possible alternative option to electronic eye implants for those who have lost their sight: gene therapy. Virus-delivered genes for green opsin gave blind mice sight enough to determine patterns on an iPad, they found, with the therapy possibly ready for clinical trials in three years’ time.

Researchers Identify PTSD Blood Biomarkers

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have found blood-based genetic markets of psychological stress which could lead to better diagnostics for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bring forward new drug development leads.