Publications by authors named "Melissa Richard"

38 Publications

Short NK and naïve T-cell telomere length is associated with thyroid cancer in childhood cancer survivors: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Nov 15. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

Background: Survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for therapy-related subsequent malignant neoplasms (SMN), including thyroid SMN. Telomere length (TL) is associated with cancer risk, but the relationship between TL and SMN risk among survivors is less clear.

Methods: We conducted a nested, matched case-control study of radiation-exposed 15-year+ adult survivors of childhood cancer with thyroid SMN (cases) and without SMN (controls). 46 cases were matched to 46 controls by primary diagnosis, chemotherapy (yes/no), radiation field, and follow-up duration. Lymphocyte TL (LTL) was measured by telomere flow-FISH cytometry using blood samples banked at a mean of 38.9 years (cases), 39.2 years (controls). Genetic variation in telomere genes was assessed by whole genome sequencing. Point estimates for LTL <10th percentile were determined for cases and controls.

Results: Cases had shorter median LTL than controls in three out of four leukocyte subsets. Cases were more likely to have NK cell LTL <10th percentile (p=0.01), and 2.8-fold more likely to have naïve T-cell LTL <10th percentile than controls (CI 1.07, 8.78). Five out of 15 cases with a rare indel or missense variant had naïve T-cell LTL <10th percentile, compared with one out of 8 controls.

Conclusions: Long-term survivors have shorter than expected LTL, a finding that is more pronounced among survivors with thyroid SMN.

Impact: The long-term impact of childhood cancer treatment on immune function is poorly understood. Our findings support immune function studies in larger survivor cohorts to assess long-term deficits in adaptive and innate immunity that may underlie SMN risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0791DOI Listing
November 2021

Multi-Ancestry Genome-wide Association Study Accounting for Gene-Psychosocial Factor Interactions Identifies Novel Loci for Blood Pressure Traits.

HGG Adv 2021 Jan 31;2(1). Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, 17489, Germany.

Psychological and social factors are known to influence blood pressure (BP) and risk of hypertension and associated cardiovascular diseases. To identify novel BP loci, we carried out genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic, diastolic, pulse, and mean arterial BP taking into account the interaction effects of genetic variants with three psychosocial factors: depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and social support. Analyses were performed using a two-stage design in a sample of up to 128,894 adults from 5 ancestry groups. In the combined meta-analyses of Stages 1 and 2, we identified 59 loci (p value <5e-8), including nine novel BP loci. The novel associations were observed mostly with pulse pressure, with fewer observed with mean arterial pressure. Five novel loci were identified in African ancestry, and all but one showed patterns of interaction with at least one psychosocial factor. Functional annotation of the novel loci supports a major role for genes implicated in the immune response (), synaptic function and neurotransmission (), as well as genes previously implicated in neuropsychiatric or stress-related disorders (). These findings underscore the importance of considering psychological and social factors in gene discovery for BP, especially in non-European populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xhgg.2020.100013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8562625PMC
January 2021

A Role for Genetics in Racial Disparities of Therapy-Related Cardiomyopathy.

Cancer Res 2021 05;81(9):2272-2274

Section of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Cardiomyopathy is a significant source of morbidity and early mortality among survivors of childhood cancer, and may disproportionately affect minorities. However, there have been few studies evaluating these outcomes among racially and ethnically diverse survivor populations. A study by Sapkota and colleagues systematically characterizes disparities in the incidence of treatment-associated cardiomyopathy on the basis of genetic ancestry and investigates genetic variants responsible for this inequality. The noteworthy findings include a disproportionate risk of cardiomyopathy among African-American childhood cancer survivors and the identification of inherited genetic variants, which may confer increased susceptibility to cardiomyopathy among these individuals. Although larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, incorporating this knowledge into clinical risk profiles may help focus attention on patient populations who are particularly vulnerable to adverse cardiovascular outcomes and most likely to benefit from preventive strategies..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-0137DOI Listing
May 2021

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-sleep interactions identify novel loci for blood pressure.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Long and short sleep duration are associated with elevated blood pressure (BP), possibly through effects on molecular pathways that influence neuroendocrine and vascular systems. To gain new insights into the genetic basis of sleep-related BP variation, we performed genome-wide gene by short or long sleep duration interaction analyses on four BP traits (systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure) across five ancestry groups in two stages using 2 degree of freedom (df) joint test followed by 1df test of interaction effects. Primary multi-ancestry analysis in 62,969 individuals in stage 1 identified three novel gene by sleep interactions that were replicated in an additional 59,296 individuals in stage 2 (stage 1 + 2 P < 5 × 10), including rs7955964 (FIGNL2/ANKRD33) that increases BP among long sleepers, and rs73493041 (SNORA26/C9orf170) and rs10406644 (KCTD15/LSM14A) that increase BP among short sleepers (P < 5 × 10). Secondary ancestry-specific analysis identified another novel gene by long sleep interaction at rs111887471 (TRPC3/KIAA1109) in individuals of African ancestry (P = 2 × 10). Combined stage 1 and 2 analyses additionally identified significant gene by long sleep interactions at 10 loci including MKLN1 and RGL3/ELAVL3 previously associated with BP, and significant gene by short sleep interactions at 10 loci including C2orf43 previously associated with BP (P < 10). 2df test also identified novel loci for BP after modeling sleep that has known functions in sleep-wake regulation, nervous and cardiometabolic systems. This study indicates that sleep and primary mechanisms regulating BP may interact to elevate BP level, suggesting novel insights into sleep-related BP regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01087-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8517040PMC
April 2021

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

Genetic variation in the body mass index of adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort.

Cancer 2021 01 13;127(2):310-318. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Texas Children's Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Background: Treatment characteristics such as cranial radiation therapy (CRT) do not fully explain adiposity risk in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survivors. This study was aimed at characterizing genetic variation related to adult body mass index (BMI) among survivors of childhood ALL.

Methods: Genetic associations of BMI among 1458 adult survivors of childhood ALL (median time from diagnosis, 20 years) were analyzed by multiple approaches. A 2-stage genome-wide association study in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study (SJLIFE) was performed. BMI was a highly polygenic trait in the general population. Within the known loci, the BMI percent variance explained was estimated, and additive interactions (chi-square test) with CRT in the CCSS were evaluated. The role of DNA methylation in CRT interaction was further evaluated in a subsample of ALL survivors.

Results: In a meta-analysis of the CCSS and SJLIFE, 2 novel loci associated with adult BMI among survivors of childhood ALL (LINC00856 rs575792008 and EMR1 rs62123082; P < 5E-8) were identified. It was estimated that the more than 700 known loci explained 6.2% of the variation in adult BMI in childhood ALL survivors. Within the known loci, significant main effects for 23 loci and statistical interactions with CRT at 9 loci (P < 7.0E-5) were further identified. At 2 CRT-interacting loci, DNA methylation patterns may have differed by age.

Conclusions: Adult survivors of childhood ALL have genetic heritability for BMI similar to that observed in the general population. This study provides evidence that treatment with CRT can modify the effect of genetic variants on adult BMI in childhood ALL survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790879PMC
January 2021

Epilepsy Risk Prediction Model for Patients With Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

Pediatr Neurol 2020 12 29;113:46-50. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas.

Background: Individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex are at increased risk of epilepsy. Early seizure control improves developmental outcomes, making identifying at-risk patients critically important. Despite several identified risk factors, it remains difficult to predict. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the combined risk prediction of previously identified risk factors for epilepsy in individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex.

Methods: The study group (n = 333) consisted of individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex who were enrolled in the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Autism Center of Excellence Research Network and UT TSC Biobank. The outcome was defined as having an epilepsy diagnosis. Potential risk factors included sex, TSC genotype, and tuber presence. Logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratio and P value for the association between each variable and epilepsy. A clinical risk prediction model incorporating all risk factors was built. Area under the curve was calculated to characterize the full model's ability to discriminate individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex with and without epilepsy.

Results: The strongest risk for epilepsy was presence of tubers (95% confidence interval: 2.39 to 10.89). Individuals with pathogenic TSC2 variants were three times more likely (95% confidence interval: 1.55 to 6.36) to develop seizures compared with those with tuberous sclerosis complex from other causes. The combination of risk factors resulted in an area under the curve 0.73.

Conclusions: Simple characteristics of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex can be combined to successfully predict epilepsy risk. A risk assessment model that incorporates sex, TSC genotype, protective TSC2 missense variant, and tuber presence correctly predicts epilepsy in 73% of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2020.07.015DOI Listing
December 2020

Altered mechanisms of genital development identified through integration of DNA methylation and genomic measures in hypospadias.

Sci Rep 2020 07 29;10(1):12715. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Hypospadias is a common birth defect where the urethral opening forms on the ventral side of the penis. We performed integrative methylomic, genomic, and transcriptomic analyses to characterize sites of DNA methylation that influence genital development. In case-control and case-only epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of preputial tissue we identified 25 CpGs associated with hypospadias characteristics and used one-sample two stage least squares Mendelian randomization (2SLS MR) to show a causal relationship for 21 of the CpGs. The largest difference was 15.7% lower beta-value at cg14436889 among hypospadias cases than controls (EWAS P = 5.4e-7) and is likely causal (2SLS MR P = 9.8e-15). Integrative annotation using two-sample Mendelian randomization of these methylation regions highlight potentially causal roles of genes involved in germ layer differentiation (WDHD1, DNM1L, TULP3), beta-catenin signaling (PKP2, UBE2R2, TNKS), androgens (CYP4A11, CYP4A22, CYP4B1, CYP4X1, CYP4Z2P, EPHX1, CD33/SIGLEC3, SIGLEC5, SIGLEC7, KLK5, KLK7, KLK10, KLK13, KLK14), and reproductive traits (ACAA1, PLCD1, EFCAB4B, GMCL1, MKRN2, DNM1L, TEAD4, TSPAN9, KLK family). This study identified CpGs that remained differentially methylated after urogenital development and used the most relevant tissue sample available to study hypospadias. We identified multiple methylation sites and candidate genes that can be further evaluated for their roles in regulating urogenital development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69725-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391634PMC
July 2020

Identification, Heritability, and Relation With Gene Expression of Novel DNA Methylation Loci for Blood Pressure.

Hypertension 2020 07 10;76(1):195-205. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Endocrinology (B.H.R.W., J.V.v.V.-O.), University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

We conducted an epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis on blood pressure (BP) in 4820 individuals of European and African ancestry aged 14 to 69. Genome-wide DNA methylation data from peripheral leukocytes were obtained using the Infinium Human Methylation 450k BeadChip. The epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis identified 39 BP-related CpG sites with <1×10. In silico replication in the CHARGE consortium of 17 010 individuals validated 16 of these CpG sites. Out of the 16 CpG sites, 13 showed novel association with BP. Conversely, out of the 126 CpG sites identified as being associated (<1×10) with BP in the CHARGE consortium, 21 were replicated in the current study. Methylation levels of all the 34 CpG sites that were cross-validated by the current study and the CHARGE consortium were heritable and 6 showed association with gene expression. Furthermore, 9 CpG sites also showed association with BP with <0.05 and consistent direction of the effect in the meta-analysis of the Finnish Twin Cohort (199 twin pairs and 4 singletons; 61% monozygous) and the Netherlands Twin Register (266 twin pairs and 62 singletons; 84% monozygous). Bivariate quantitative genetic modeling of the twin data showed that a majority of the phenotypic correlations between methylation levels of these CpG sites and BP could be explained by shared unique environmental rather than genetic factors, with 100% of the correlations of systolic BP with cg19693031 () and cg00716257 () determined by environmental effects acting on both systolic BP and methylation levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.14973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295009PMC
July 2020

Role of Rare and Low-Frequency Variants in Gene-Alcohol Interactions on Plasma Lipid Levels.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2020 08 8;13(4):e002772. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health (L.F.B., J.A.S., W.Z., S.L.R.K.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Background: Alcohol intake influences plasma lipid levels, and such effects may be moderated by genetic variants. We aimed to characterize the role of aggregated rare and low-frequency protein-coding variants in gene by alcohol consumption interactions associated with fasting plasma lipid levels.

Methods: In the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium, fasting plasma triglycerides and high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were measured in 34 153 individuals with European ancestry from 5 discovery studies and 32 277 individuals from 6 replication studies. Rare and low-frequency functional protein-coding variants (minor allele frequency, ≤5%) measured by an exome array were aggregated by genes and evaluated by a gene-environment interaction test and a joint test of genetic main and gene-environment interaction effects. Two dichotomous self-reported alcohol consumption variables, current drinker, defined as any recurrent drinking behavior, and regular drinker, defined as the subset of current drinkers who consume at least 2 drinks per week, were considered.

Results: We discovered and replicated 21 gene-lipid associations at 13 known lipid loci through the joint test. Eight loci (, , , , , , , and ) remained significant after conditioning on the common index single-nucleotide polymorphism identified by previous genome-wide association studies, suggesting an independent role for rare and low-frequency variants at these loci. One significant gene-alcohol interaction on triglycerides in a novel locus was significantly discovered (=6.65×10 for the interaction test) and replicated at nominal significance level (=0.013) in .

Conclusions: In conclusion, this study applied new gene-based statistical approaches and suggested that rare and low-frequency genetic variants interacted with alcohol consumption on lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002772DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442680PMC
August 2020

Gene-educational attainment interactions in a multi-ancestry genome-wide meta-analysis identify novel blood pressure loci.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 06 5;26(6):2111-2125. Epub 2020 May 5.

Health Disparities Research Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, 21224, USA.

Educational attainment is widely used as a surrogate for socioeconomic status (SES). Low SES is a risk factor for hypertension and high blood pressure (BP). To identify novel BP loci, we performed multi-ancestry meta-analyses accounting for gene-educational attainment interactions using two variables, "Some College" (yes/no) and "Graduated College" (yes/no). Interactions were evaluated using both a 1 degree of freedom (DF) interaction term and a 2DF joint test of genetic and interaction effects. Analyses were performed for systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure. We pursued genome-wide interrogation in Stage 1 studies (N = 117 438) and follow-up on promising variants in Stage 2 studies (N = 293 787) in five ancestry groups. Through combined meta-analyses of Stages 1 and 2, we identified 84 known and 18 novel BP loci at genome-wide significance level (P < 5 × 10). Two novel loci were identified based on the 1DF test of interaction with educational attainment, while the remaining 16 loci were identified through the 2DF joint test of genetic and interaction effects. Ten novel loci were identified in individuals of African ancestry. Several novel loci show strong biological plausibility since they involve physiologic systems implicated in BP regulation. They include genes involved in the central nervous system-adrenal signaling axis (ZDHHC17, CADPS, PIK3C2G), vascular structure and function (GNB3, CDON), and renal function (HAS2 and HAS2-AS1, SLIT3). Collectively, these findings suggest a role of educational attainment or SES in further dissection of the genetic architecture of BP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0719-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7641978PMC
June 2021

Utilization of archived neonatal dried blood spots for genome-wide genotyping.

PLoS One 2020 21;15(2):e0229352. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Department of Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology Section, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Introduction: Heel pricks are performed on newborns for diagnostic screenings of various pre-symptomatic metabolic and genetic diseases. Excess blood is spotted on Guthrie cards and archived by many states in biobanks for follow-up diagnoses and public health research. However, storage environment may vary across biobanks and across time within biobanks. With increased applications of DNA extracted from spots for genetic studies, identifying factors associated with genotyping success is critical to maximize DNA quality for future studies.

Method: We evaluated 399 blood spots, which were part of a genome-wide association study of childhood leukemia risk in children with Down syndrome, archived at the Michigan Neonatal Biobank between 1992 and 2008. High quality DNA was defined as having post-quality control call rate ≥ 99.0% based on the Illumina GenomeStudio 2.0 GenCall algorithm after processing the samples on the Illumina Infinium Global Screening Array. Bivariate analyses and multivariable logistic regression models were applied to evaluate effects of storage environment and storage duration on DNA genotyping quality.

Results: Both storage environment and duration were associated with sample genotyping call rates (p-values < 0.001). Sample call rates were associated with storage duration independent of storage environment (p-trend = 0.006 for DBS archived in an uncontrolled environment and p-trend = 0.002 in a controlled environment). However, 95% of the total sample had high genotyping quality with a call rate ≥ 95.0%, a standard threshold for acceptable sample quality in many genetic studies.

Conclusion: Blood spot DNA quality was lower in samples archived in uncontrolled storage environments and for samples archived for longer durations. Still, regardless of storage environment or duration, neonatal biobanks including the Michigan Neonatal Biobanks can provide access to large collections of spots with DNA quality acceptable for most genotyping studies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0229352PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034898PMC
May 2020

Genetic variation in POT1 and risk of thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

PLoS One 2020 10;15(2):e0228887. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States of America.

Background: Telomere length is associated with risk for thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm in survivors of childhood cancer. Here, we investigated associations between thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm and inherited variation in telomere maintenance genes.

Methods: We used RegulomeDB to annotate the functional impact of variants mapping to 14 telomere maintenance genes among 5,066 five-or-more year survivors who participate in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and who are longitudinally followed for incidence of subsequent cancers. Hazard ratios for thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm were calculated for 60 putatively functional variants with minor allele frequency ≥1% in or near telomere maintenance genes. Functional impact was further assessed by measuring telomere length in leukocyte subsets.

Results: The minor allele at Protection of Telomeres-1 (POT1) rs58722976 was associated with increased risk for thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm (adjusted HR = 6.1, 95% CI: 2.4, 15.5, P = 0.0001; Fisher's exact P = 0.001). This imputed SNP was present in three out of 110 survivors who developed thyroid cancer vs. 14 out of 4,956 survivors who did not develop thyroid cancer. In a subset of 83 survivors with leukocyte telomere length data available, this variant was associated with longer telomeres in B lymphocytes (P = 0.004).

Conclusions: Using a functional variant approach, we identified and confirmed an association between a low frequency intronic regulatory POT1 variant and thyroid subsequent malignant neoplasm in survivors of childhood cancer. These results suggest that intronic variation in POT1 may affect key protein binding interactions that impact telomere maintenance and genomic integrity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228887PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010302PMC
May 2020

Large-scale patterning of π-conjugated materials by meniscus guided coating methods.

Adv Colloid Interface Sci 2020 Jan 22;275:102080. Epub 2019 Nov 22.

LPICM, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, route de Saclay, 91128 Palaiseau, France. Electronic address:

Printed organic electronics has attracted considerable interest in recent years as it enables the fabrication of large-scale, low-cost electronic devices, and thus offers significant possibilities in terms of developing new applications in various fields. Easy processing is a prerequisite for the development of low-cost, flexible and printed plastics electronics. Among processing techniques, meniscus guided coating methods are considered simple, efficient, and low-cost methods to fabricate electronic devices in industry. One of the major challenges is the control of thin film morphology, molecular orientations and directional alignment of polymer films during coating processes. Herein, the recent progress of emerging field of meniscus guided printing organic semiconductor materials is discussed. The first part of this report briefly summarizes recent advances in meniscus guided coating techniques. The second part discusses periodic deposits and patterned deposition at moving contact lines, where the mass-transport influences film morphology due to convection at the triple contact line. The last section summarizes our strategy to fabricate large-scale patterning of π-conjugated polymers using meniscus guided method.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cis.2019.102080DOI Listing
January 2020

Multi-ancestry sleep-by-SNP interaction analysis in 126,926 individuals reveals lipid loci stratified by sleep duration.

Nat Commun 2019 11 12;10(1):5121. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands.

Both short and long sleep are associated with an adverse lipid profile, likely through different biological pathways. To elucidate the biology of sleep-associated adverse lipid profile, we conduct multi-ancestry genome-wide sleep-SNP interaction analyses on three lipid traits (HDL-c, LDL-c and triglycerides). In the total study sample (discovery + replication) of 126,926 individuals from 5 different ancestry groups, when considering either long or short total sleep time interactions in joint analyses, we identify 49 previously unreported lipid loci, and 10 additional previously unreported lipid loci in a restricted sample of European-ancestry cohorts. In addition, we identify new gene-sleep interactions for known lipid loci such as LPL and PCSK9. The previously unreported lipid loci have a modest explained variance in lipid levels: most notable, gene-short-sleep interactions explain 4.25% of the variance in triglyceride level. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in sleep-associated adverse lipid profiles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12958-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6851116PMC
November 2019

Genome-wide identification of DNA methylation QTLs in whole blood highlights pathways for cardiovascular disease.

Nat Commun 2019 09 19;10(1):4267. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

The Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA.

Identifying methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTLs) and integrating them with disease-associated variants from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) may illuminate functional mechanisms underlying genetic variant-disease associations. Here, we perform GWAS of >415 thousand CpG methylation sites in whole blood from 4170 individuals and map 4.7 million cis- and 630 thousand trans-meQTL variants targeting >120 thousand CpGs. Independent replication is performed in 1347 participants from two studies. By linking cis-meQTL variants with GWAS results for cardiovascular disease (CVD) traits, we identify 92 putatively causal CpGs for CVD traits by Mendelian randomization analysis. Further integrating gene expression data reveals evidence of cis CpG-transcript pairs causally linked to CVD. In addition, we identify 22 trans-meQTL hotspots each targeting more than 30 CpGs and find that trans-meQTL hotspots appear to act in cis on expression of nearby transcriptional regulatory genes. Our findings provide a powerful meQTL resource and shed light on DNA methylation involvement in human diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12228-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6753136PMC
September 2019

Genetic analyses of diverse populations improves discovery for complex traits.

Nature 2019 06 19;570(7762):514-518. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have laid the foundation for investigations into the biology of complex traits, drug development and clinical guidelines. However, the majority of discovery efforts are based on data from populations of European ancestry. In light of the differential genetic architecture that is known to exist between populations, bias in representation can exacerbate existing disease and healthcare disparities. Critical variants may be missed if they have a low frequency or are completely absent in European populations, especially as the field shifts its attention towards rare variants, which are more likely to be population-specific. Additionally, effect sizes and their derived risk prediction scores derived in one population may not accurately extrapolate to other populations. Here we demonstrate the value of diverse, multi-ethnic participants in large-scale genomic studies. The Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study conducted a GWAS of 26 clinical and behavioural phenotypes in 49,839 non-European individuals. Using strategies tailored for analysis of multi-ethnic and admixed populations, we describe a framework for analysing diverse populations, identify 27 novel loci and 38 secondary signals at known loci, as well as replicate 1,444 GWAS catalogue associations across these traits. Our data show evidence of effect-size heterogeneity across ancestries for published GWAS associations, substantial benefits for fine-mapping using diverse cohorts and insights into clinical implications. In the United States-where minority populations have a disproportionately higher burden of chronic conditions-the lack of representation of diverse populations in genetic research will result in inequitable access to precision medicine for those with the highest burden of disease. We strongly advocate for continued, large genome-wide efforts in diverse populations to maximize genetic discovery and reduce health disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1310-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785182PMC
June 2019

A multi-ancestry genome-wide study incorporating gene-smoking interactions identifies multiple new loci for pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 08;28(15):2615-2633

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Elevated blood pressure (BP), a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, is influenced by both genetic and lifestyle factors. Cigarette smoking is one such lifestyle factor. Across five ancestries, we performed a genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP) in 129 913 individuals in stage 1 and follow-up analysis in 480 178 additional individuals in stage 2. We report here 136 loci significantly associated with MAP and/or PP. Of these, 61 were previously published through main-effect analysis of BP traits, 37 were recently reported by us for systolic BP and/or diastolic BP through gene-smoking interaction analysis and 38 were newly identified (P < 5 × 10-8, false discovery rate < 0.05). We also identified nine new signals near known loci. Of the 136 loci, 8 showed significant interaction with smoking status. They include CSMD1 previously reported for insulin resistance and BP in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. Many of the 38 new loci show biologic plausibility for a role in BP regulation. SLC26A7 encodes a chloride/bicarbonate exchanger expressed in the renal outer medullary collecting duct. AVPR1A is widely expressed, including in vascular smooth muscle cells, kidney, myocardium and brain. FHAD1 is a long non-coding RNA overexpressed in heart failure. TMEM51 was associated with contractile function in cardiomyocytes. CASP9 plays a central role in cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Identified only in African ancestry were 30 novel loci. Our findings highlight the value of multi-ancestry investigations, particularly in studies of interaction with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6644157PMC
August 2019

The role of genetic variation in DGKK on moderate and severe hypospadias.

Birth Defects Res 2019 08 18;111(13):932-937. Epub 2019 May 18.

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Background: Recent genome-wide association studies of hypospadias have implicated the role of genetic variants in or near the diacylglycerol kinase kappa (DGKK) gene. However, these variants are largely identified among samples of mild and moderate hypospadias cases. Therefore, we evaluated previously identified DGKK variants among second- and third-degree hypospadias cases and controls recruited in Arkansas, a state characterized by a high birth prevalence of hypospadias.

Methods: Second- and third-degree hypospadias non-Hispanic white cases (n = 36 and n = 9, respectively) and controls (n = 45) were recruited at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Preputial tissue was collected on cases and controls between 2013 and 2017. Cases and controls were genotyped using the Illumina Infinium Global Screening Array. We used logistic regression models to assess the association of genotyped and imputed genetic variants mapped to the DGKK region with second- and third-degree hypospadias.

Results: All families self-reported as non-Hispanic white and genetic principal component analyses did not demonstrate evidence of population stratification. Five DGKK variants previously reported as associated with hypospadias were identified in the genotype data. None of the variants were associated with second- or third-degree hypospadias (range of odds ratios = 0.7-0.9, all p > .05).

Conclusions: In our analyses, genetic variation in DGKK does not play a role in the development of moderate and severe hypospadias. Our findings provide support to the etiologic heterogeneity of hypospadias by all classifications of severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdr2.1522DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084115PMC
August 2019

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of 387,272 individuals identifies new loci associated with serum lipids.

Nat Genet 2019 04 29;51(4):636-648. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The concentrations of high- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by smoking, but it is unknown whether genetic associations with lipids may be modified by smoking. We conducted a multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study in 133,805 individuals with follow-up in an additional 253,467 individuals. Combined meta-analyses identified 13 new loci associated with lipids, some of which were detected only because association differed by smoking status. Additionally, we demonstrate the importance of including diverse populations, particularly in studies of interactions with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences by ancestry may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467258PMC
April 2019

Multiancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 06;188(6):1033-1054

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

A person's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multiancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from 5 ancestry groups. Analyses covered the period July 2014-November 2017. Genetic main effects and interaction effects were jointly assessed by means of a 2-degrees-of-freedom (df) test, and a 1-df test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in stage 1 and were evaluated in stage 2, followed by combined analyses of stage 1 and stage 2. In the combined analysis of stages 1 and 2, a total of 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2-df tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide-significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5), vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB), and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1) complementation factor (A1CF)) that have a putative role in lipid metabolism on the basis of existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545280PMC
June 2019

Multi-ancestry study of blood lipid levels identifies four loci interacting with physical activity.

Nat Commun 2019 01 22;10(1):376. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, 01246903, SP, Brazil.

Many genetic loci affect circulating lipid levels, but it remains unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, modify these genetic effects. To identify lipid loci interacting with physical activity, we performed genome-wide analyses of circulating HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in up to 120,979 individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Brazilian ancestry, with follow-up of suggestive associations in an additional 131,012 individuals. We find four loci, in/near CLASP1, LHX1, SNTA1, and CNTNAP2, that are associated with circulating lipid levels through interaction with physical activity; higher levels of physical activity enhance the HDL cholesterol-increasing effects of the CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 loci and attenuate the LDL cholesterol-increasing effect of the CNTNAP2 locus. The CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 regions harbor genes linked to muscle function and lipid metabolism. Our results elucidate the role of physical activity interactions in the genetic contribution to blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08008-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342931PMC
January 2019

Novel genetic associations for blood pressure identified via gene-alcohol interaction in up to 570K individuals across multiple ancestries.

PLoS One 2018 18;13(6):e0198166. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Heavy alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for hypertension; the mechanism by which alcohol consumption impact blood pressure (BP) regulation remains unknown. We hypothesized that a genome-wide association study accounting for gene-alcohol consumption interaction for BP might identify additional BP loci and contribute to the understanding of alcohol-related BP regulation. We conducted a large two-stage investigation incorporating joint testing of main genetic effects and single nucleotide variant (SNV)-alcohol consumption interactions. In Stage 1, genome-wide discovery meta-analyses in ≈131K individuals across several ancestry groups yielded 3,514 SNVs (245 loci) with suggestive evidence of association (P < 1.0 x 10-5). In Stage 2, these SNVs were tested for independent external replication in ≈440K individuals across multiple ancestries. We identified and replicated (at Bonferroni correction threshold) five novel BP loci (380 SNVs in 21 genes) and 49 previously reported BP loci (2,159 SNVs in 109 genes) in European ancestry, and in multi-ancestry meta-analyses (P < 5.0 x 10-8). For African ancestry samples, we detected 18 potentially novel BP loci (P < 5.0 x 10-8) in Stage 1 that warrant further replication. Additionally, correlated meta-analysis identified eight novel BP loci (11 genes). Several genes in these loci (e.g., PINX1, GATA4, BLK, FTO and GABBR2) have been previously reported to be associated with alcohol consumption. These findings provide insights into the role of alcohol consumption in the genetic architecture of hypertension.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198166PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005576PMC
January 2019

Discovery, fine-mapping, and conditional analyses of genetic variants associated with C-reactive protein in multiethnic populations using the Metabochip in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 08;27(16):2940-2953

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a circulating biomarker indicative of systemic inflammation. We aimed to evaluate genetic associations with CRP levels among non-European-ancestry populations through discovery, fine-mapping and conditional analyses. A total of 30 503 non-European-ancestry participants from 6 studies participating in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology study had serum high-sensitivity CRP measurements and ∼200 000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped on the Metabochip. We evaluated the association between each SNP and log-transformed CRP levels using multivariate linear regression, with additive genetic models adjusted for age, sex, the first four principal components of genetic ancestry, and study-specific factors. Differential linkage disequilibrium patterns between race/ethnicity groups were used to fine-map regions associated with CRP levels. Conditional analyses evaluated for multiple independent signals within genetic regions. One hundred and sixty-three unique variants in 12 loci in overall or race/ethnicity-stratified Metabochip-wide scans reached a Bonferroni-corrected P-value <2.5E-7. Three loci have no (HACL1, OLFML2B) or only limited (PLA2G6) previous associations with CRP levels. Six loci had different top hits in race/ethnicity-specific versus overall analyses. Fine-mapping refined the signal in six loci, particularly in HNF1A. Conditional analyses provided evidence for secondary signals in LEPR, IL1RN and HNF1A, and for multiple independent signals in CRP and APOE. We identified novel variants and loci associated with CRP levels, generalized known CRP associations to a multiethnic study population, refined association signals at several loci and found evidence for multiple independent signals at several well-known loci. This study demonstrates the benefit of conducting inclusive genetic association studies in large multiethnic populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy211DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077792PMC
August 2018

A Large-Scale Multi-ancestry Genome-wide Study Accounting for Smoking Behavior Identifies Multiple Significant Loci for Blood Pressure.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 03 15;102(3):375-400. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Health Disparities Research Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.

Genome-wide association analysis advanced understanding of blood pressure (BP), a major risk factor for vascular conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Accounting for smoking behavior may help identify BP loci and extend our knowledge of its genetic architecture. We performed genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic and diastolic BP incorporating gene-smoking interactions in 610,091 individuals. Stage 1 analysis examined ∼18.8 million SNPs and small insertion/deletion variants in 129,913 individuals from four ancestries (European, African, Asian, and Hispanic) with follow-up analysis of promising variants in 480,178 additional individuals from five ancestries. We identified 15 loci that were genome-wide significant (p < 5 × 10) in stage 1 and formally replicated in stage 2. A combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analysis identified 66 additional genome-wide significant loci (13, 35, and 18 loci in European, African, and trans-ancestry, respectively). A total of 56 known BP loci were also identified by our results (p < 5 × 10). Of the newly identified loci, ten showed significant interaction with smoking status, but none of them were replicated in stage 2. Several loci were identified in African ancestry, highlighting the importance of genetic studies in diverse populations. The identified loci show strong evidence for regulatory features and support shared pathophysiology with cardiometabolic and addiction traits. They also highlight a role in BP regulation for biological candidates such as modulators of vascular structure and function (CDKN1B, BCAR1-CFDP1, PXDN, EEA1), ciliopathies (SDCCAG8, RPGRIP1L), telomere maintenance (TNKS, PINX1, AKTIP), and central dopaminergic signaling (MSRA, EBF2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985266PMC
March 2018

Associations of plasma clusterin and Alzheimer's disease-related MRI markers in adults at mid-life: The CARDIA Brain MRI sub-study.

PLoS One 2018 11;13(1):e0190478. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD United States of America.

Background: Clinical and epidemiological studies of older persons have implicated clusterin in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. In the context of identifying early biomarkers of risk, we examined associations of plasma clusterin and characteristics of AD in middle-aged individuals from the community.

Materials And Methods: Subjects were 639 cognitively normal individuals (mean age 50 ± 3.5) from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Brain MRI sub-study. Clusterin was quantified using ELISA (mean 255± 31 ng/ml). Associations were assessed between clusterin and volumes of brain regions known to atrophy in early AD, including entorhinal cortex (ECV), hippocampus (HV), and medial temporal lobe (MTLV) volumes (cm3). Total brain volume (TBV) and volumes of structures affected in later AD were examined for comparison.

Results: In multivariable models, higher clusterin had a negative non-linear association with ECV (combined left and right hemispheres), and this association was influenced by the highest clusterin levels. Compared to mean clusterin, 1 and 2 standard deviation (SD) level increases in clusterin were associated with -2.1% (95% CI: -3.3,-0.9) and -7.3% (95% CI: -11.3,-3.3) lower ECV, respectively. Similar relationships were observed between clusterin and HV, although the relationship was stronger for left-side HV than the right-side. However, the association was not significant after adjusting for covariates. Negative non-linear associations between clusterin and MTLV were strongest for the left side: compared to mean clusterin, 1 and 2 SD level increases in clusterin were associated with -0.9% (95% CI: -1.9, 0.1) and -3.7% (95% CI: -7.1, -0.3) lower MTLV. There were no significant associations between clusterin and brain structures affected in later AD.

Conclusions: In middle-aged adults unselected for AD, plasma clusterin was associated with lower volume of the entorhinal cortex, an area that atrophies early in AD. Clusterin could be informative as part of a multi-component preclinical marker for AD.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190478PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764276PMC
February 2018

DNA Methylation Analysis Identifies Loci for Blood Pressure Regulation.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Dec 30;101(6):888-902. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, USA; Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Unit, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.

Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of genetic variants associated with blood pressure (BP), but sequence variation accounts for a small fraction of the phenotypic variance. Epigenetic changes may alter the expression of genes involved in BP regulation and explain part of the missing heritability. We therefore conducted a two-stage meta-analysis of the cross-sectional associations of systolic and diastolic BP with blood-derived genome-wide DNA methylation measured on the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip in 17,010 individuals of European, African American, and Hispanic ancestry. Of 31 discovery-stage cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) dinucleotides, 13 replicated after Bonferroni correction (discovery: N = 9,828, p < 1.0 × 10; replication: N = 7,182, p < 1.6 × 10). The replicated methylation sites are heritable (h > 30%) and independent of known BP genetic variants, explaining an additional 1.4% and 2.0% of the interindividual variation in systolic and diastolic BP, respectively. Bidirectional Mendelian randomization among up to 4,513 individuals of European ancestry from 4 cohorts suggested that methylation at cg08035323 (TAF1B-YWHAQ) influences BP, while BP influences methylation at cg00533891 (ZMIZ1), cg00574958 (CPT1A), and cg02711608 (SLC1A5). Gene expression analyses further identified six genes (TSPAN2, SLC7A11, UNC93B1, CPT1A, PTMS, and LPCAT3) with evidence of triangular associations between methylation, gene expression, and BP. Additional integrative Mendelian randomization analyses of gene expression and DNA methylation suggested that the expression of TSPAN2 is a putative mediator of association between DNA methylation at cg23999170 and BP. These findings suggest that heritable DNA methylation plays a role in regulating BP independently of previously known genetic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.09.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812919PMC
December 2017

New Blood Pressure-Associated Loci Identified in Meta-Analyses of 475 000 Individuals.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2017 Oct;10(5)

Background: Genome-wide association studies have recently identified >400 loci that harbor DNA sequence variants that influence blood pressure (BP). Our earlier studies identified and validated 56 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) associated with BP from meta-analyses of exome chip genotype data. An additional 100 variants yielded suggestive evidence of association.

Methods And Results: Here, we augment the sample with 140 886 European individuals from the UK Biobank, in whom 77 of the 100 suggestive SNVs were available for association analysis with systolic BP or diastolic BP or pulse pressure. We performed 2 meta-analyses, one in individuals of European, South Asian, African, and Hispanic descent (pan-ancestry, ≈475 000), and the other in the subset of individuals of European descent (≈423 000). Twenty-one SNVs were genome-wide significant (<5×10) for BP, of which 4 are new BP loci: rs9678851 (missense, ), rs7437940 (), rs13303 (missense, ), and rs1055144 (). In addition, we identified a potentially independent novel BP-associated SNV, rs3416322 (missense, ) at a known locus, uncorrelated with the previously reported SNVs. Two SNVs are associated with expression levels of nearby genes, and SNVs at 3 loci are associated with other traits. One SNV with a minor allele frequency <0.01, (rs3025380 at ) was genome-wide significant.

Conclusions: We report 4 novel loci associated with BP regulation, and 1 independent variant at an established BP locus. This analysis highlights several candidate genes with variation that alter protein function or gene expression for potential follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.117.001778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5776077PMC
October 2017

Investigating Undergraduate Students' Use of Intuitive Reasoning and Evolutionary Knowledge in Explanations of Antibiotic Resistance.

CBE Life Sci Educ 2017 ;16(3)

SEPAL: The Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132

Natural selection is a central concept throughout biology; however, it is a process frequently misunderstood. Bacterial resistance to antibiotic medications provides a contextual example of the relevance of evolutionary theory and is also commonly misunderstood. While research has shed light on student misconceptions of natural selection, minimal study has focused on misconceptions of antibiotic resistance. Additionally, research has focused on the degree to which misconceptions may be based in the complexity of biological information or in pedagogical choices, rather than in deep-seated cognitive patterns. Cognitive psychology research has established that humans develop early intuitive assumptions to make sense of the world. In this study, we used a written assessment tool to investigate undergraduate students' misconceptions of antibiotic resistance, use of intuitive reasoning, and application of evolutionary knowledge to antibiotic resistance. We found a majority of students produced and agreed with misconceptions, and intuitive reasoning was present in nearly all students' written explanations. Acceptance of a misconception was significantly associated with production of a hypothesized form of intuitive thinking (all ≤ 0.05). Intuitive reasoning may represent a subtle but innately appealing linguistic shorthand, and instructor awareness of intuitive reasoning's relation to student misunderstandings has potential for addressing persistent misconceptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-11-0317DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5589435PMC
December 2017
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