Genetic link – Genetic Science Services http://geneticscienceservices.com/ Thu, 12 May 2022 03:57:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://geneticscienceservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-7.png Genetic link – Genetic Science Services http://geneticscienceservices.com/ 32 32 DNA repeat probe reveals genetic link to https://geneticscienceservices.com/dna-repeat-probe-reveals-genetic-link-to/ Thu, 12 May 2022 03:57:57 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/dna-repeat-probe-reveals-genetic-link-to/ TORONTO – Researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have found that repeated DNA sequences in the genome may contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia. Tandem repeats are a class of DNA sequences where two or more nucleotides, known as DNA building blocks, are […]]]>

TORONTO – Researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have found that repeated DNA sequences in the genome may contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Tandem repeats are a class of DNA sequences where two or more nucleotides, known as DNA building blocks, are repeated adjacent to each other. Sometimes these repetitions can stretch as they are passed down from one generation to the next. As a repeat sequence grows, the likelihood that it can disrupt gene function increases.

Tandem repeat expansions are known to contribute to more than 50 conditions, including Huntington’s disease. Less is known about the role of these tandem repeats in a complex disorder like schizophrenia, which is influenced by the effects of many variants in different genes.

Led by Dr. Ryan Yuen, Genetics and Genome Biology Program Scientist at SickKids, and Dr. Anne Bassett, Senior Scientist at CAMH and the University Health Network, a study published May 12, 2022 in Molecular psychiatry found that people with schizophrenia have a high number of rare tandem repeat expansions that are not typically found in the general population. These tandem repeats are located near genes, and often with other genetic variants, that are known to be associated with schizophrenia.

As part of the study, the team found that the expansions were also present in the sequenced genomes of individuals with a family history of schizophrenia.

“This is the first time that these rare repeat expansions have been assessed at the genome level in schizophrenia. Our results suggest that tandem repeat expansions are an important class of variants that contribute to the risk of schizophrenia,” says Yuen.

Tandem Repeated Expansions Contribute to Errors in How Neurons in the Brain Communicate

Tandem repeats are typically found in noncoding DNA, which means their function is unclear and they can be difficult for researchers to study. The researchers applied a novel computational approach developed by Yuen and his team at SickKids to search and find rare tandem repeat extensions across the entire genome of 257 adults with schizophrenia carefully assessed by Bassett’s team. They compared the data to the genomes of 225 people without psychiatric disorders as well as a cohort of more than 2,500 people from the 1000 Genomes Project, an international genome database.

The study found that tandem repeat expansions contribute to synapse dysfunction – where neurons connect and communicate with each other in the brain – likely by disrupting the process of regulating their associated genes.

The research follows other recently published studies that describe other contributors to schizophrenia risk – one which identified common variant regions and the second which focused on rare protein-disrupting variants.

“We found that genes with tandem repeat expansions overlap with other findings we see in the field. Our study helps fill some of the gaps in our knowledge and highlights the important function of synaptic functions in schizophrenia as well as the complex way in which schizophrenia is affected by different types of genetic variants,” says Yuen, whose team has previously used the same approach to linking tandem repeat expansions to autism spectrum disorders.

Findings help broaden understanding of genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia

Bassett says the findings provide more evidence for the range of genetic risks underlying schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders.

“Given the biological complexity of schizophrenia, we hope that our findings, in combination with other recent studies in the field, can be used to advance the understanding of this disorder as a disease of the brain to help to de-stigmatize the disease,” says Bassett. “These findings are a big step forward for the future of schizophrenia research.”

Yuen notes that future studies with a larger cohort size are needed to further characterize the role of rare tandem repeats in the condition.

“As we unlock a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia, we may one day be heading towards a future in which genetic risk factors can be used to individualize treatment approaches for patients.”

The work was supported by SickKids Catalyst Scholar in Genetics, Brain Canada, The Azrieli Foundation, the University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre, Nancy ET Fahrner Award, Dr. Bassett’s Dalglish Chair in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome at the University Health Network and University of Toronto and former Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Genetics of Schizophrenia and Genomic Disorders, grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the SickKids Foundation.

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About the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s leading pediatric health care facilities and is Canada’s leading center dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children around the world. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centered care; pioneering scientific and clinical advances; share expertise; fostering an academic environment conducive to health professionals; and advocate for an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, consistent and coordinated approach to pediatric health care centered on children, youth and their families. SickKids is proud of its vision of “Healthier Kids. A better world.”

About the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addictions teaching hospital and a leading research center in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Center. For more information, visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.

Media Contacts
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
Jessamine’s Luck
jessamine.luck@sickkids.ca

CAMH Media Relations
media@camh.ca


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The genetic link between blood test results and mental disorders… https://geneticscienceservices.com/the-genetic-link-between-blood-test-results-and-mental-disorders/ Mon, 25 Apr 2022 18:09:14 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/the-genetic-link-between-blood-test-results-and-mental-disorders/ the to research will improve our understanding of the causes of mental illness and may help identify new treatments. Healthy body, healthy mind People often view mental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body. This is far from true: there is clear evidence that many biochemicals are implicated in diseases […]]]>

the to research will improve our understanding of the causes of mental illness and may help identify new treatments.

Healthy body, healthy mind

People often view mental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body. This is far from true: there is clear evidence that many biochemicals are implicated in diseases such as Diabetes and autoimmune conditions have a direct impact on the functioning of our brain.

Many studies have attempted to address this issue by focusing on substances called biomarkers that can be easily measured in the blood.

A biomarker is simply something in the body that is indicative of a particular disease or process. These are often related to the kinds of things reported in a blood test prescribed by your doctor, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, liver enzymes, vitamins, or markers of inflammation.

The biomarkers found in routine blood tests are useful because they are often affected by diet and lifestyle, or by drug treatment.

The complex role of genetics in mental health

It is often difficult to study the role of these blood biomarkers in mental health problems. Many studies in this area are often not large enough to draw strong conclusions.

One solution is to examine the genetic influences on mental illness and the substances measured in the blood. Genetics is helpful because we now have data from millions of people who have volunteered in research studies.

Mental illnesses and blood biomarkers are what geneticists call “complex strokes”. In complex traits, many genes are involved and environmental factors also contribute.

The widespread availability of genetic data has allowed us to study how large numbers of tiny changes in DNA sequence (or “variants”) are linked to the risk of mental illness. These same variants can then also be linked to measured levels of a biomarker in the blood.

For example, a variant of a particular gene may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and also be linked to decreased levels of a vitamin circulating in the blood. Most of these variants are individually associated with very small changes in something like mental illness risk, but they can add up to produce larger effects.

How are blood biomarkers linked to mental illness?

Our recent study sought to use genetics to investigate the relationship between nine mental health disorders and 50 factors measured in routine blood tests, such as cholesterol, vitamins, enzymes and indicators of inflammation. We used data from very large studies conducted by other people, with data from nearly one million volunteers included in total.

Our study first confirmed the existence of what is called genetic correlation between blood biomarkers and mental illness, which was more prevalent than previously shown. Genetic correlation means that the effect of DNA sequence changes on mental illness risk and levels of a given biomarker were more similar to each other than would occur by chance alone.

To take one example, there was a positive genetic correlation in our study between white blood cell count and depression. This could indicate that some process in our body influences both depression and white blood cells.

If we could identify what this shared process is, it could lead to a better understanding of what causes depression and this could be targeted for treatment.

Correlation versus causation

Our study showed that there was correlation between the genetics of mental illness and blood factors, but this does not tell us whether blood biomarkers are involved in this causes mental illness.

To distinguish correlation from causation in medicine, the gold standard approach is to conduct clinical trials where patients are randomly given a treatment or a placebo. However, these trials are expensive and difficult to conduct.

We did the next best thing: use DNA variants linked to changes in blood biomarkers to act as a natural clinical trial. This process takes advantage of the fact that we randomly inherit DNA variants from our parents, similar to how participants in a clinical trial are randomly given a treatment or a placebo.

It is a complex method and the results must be interpreted with care.

We found evidence that certain substances measured in blood may actually be involved in causing certain mental illnesses. Proteins related to the immune system, for example, may be implicated in depression, schizophrenia and anorexia.

Further work is now needed to identify how precisely these blood measurements are implicated in these disorders, and whether they can be targeted for treatment. DM/ML

This story was first published in The conversation

William Reay is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, University of Newcastle.

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South Africa: We found a genetic link between routine blood test results and mental health disorders https://geneticscienceservices.com/south-africa-we-found-a-genetic-link-between-routine-blood-test-results-and-mental-health-disorders/ Mon, 25 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/south-africa-we-found-a-genetic-link-between-routine-blood-test-results-and-mental-health-disorders/ According to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from nearly one million people, mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and anorexia, show links with biological markers detected in blood tests of routine. The research will increase our understanding of the causes of mental illness and could help identify new treatments. Healthy body, […]]]>

According to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from nearly one million people, mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and anorexia, show links with biological markers detected in blood tests of routine.

The research will increase our understanding of the causes of mental illness and could help identify new treatments.

Healthy body, healthy mind

People often view mental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body. This is far from true: there is clear evidence that many biochemicals implicated in diseases such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases have a direct impact on the functioning of our brains.

Many studies have attempted to address this issue by focusing on substances called biomarkers that can be easily measured in the blood.

A biomarker is simply something in the body that is indicative of a particular disease or process. These are often related to the kinds of things reported in a blood test prescribed by your doctor, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, liver enzymes, vitamins, or markers of inflammation.

The biomarkers found in routine blood tests are useful because they are often affected by diet and lifestyle, or by drug treatment.

The complex role of genetics in mental health

It’s often…

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HMS and Broad Institute researchers discover first strong genetic link to bipolar disorder | News https://geneticscienceservices.com/hms-and-broad-institute-researchers-discover-first-strong-genetic-link-to-bipolar-disorder-news/ Fri, 22 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/hms-and-broad-institute-researchers-discover-first-strong-genetic-link-to-bipolar-disorder-news/ A research team including scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard reported the first strong genetic risk factor for bipolar disorder in a study published in the journal Nature Genetics on April 1. Researchers from HMS and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute analyzed the […]]]>

A research team including scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard reported the first strong genetic risk factor for bipolar disorder in a study published in the journal Nature Genetics on April 1.

Researchers from HMS and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute analyzed the genomes of nearly 50,000 participants to identify the AKAP11 gene, which they believe increases the risk of bipolar disorder sevenfold. Bipolar disorder is “a severe, inherited mood disorder that affects approximately one percent of the population and often begins in early adulthood,” according to a press release from the Broad Institute.

Steven E. Hyman, director of the Stanley Center, said the study used innovative genetic research to analyze the origins and risk factors of bipolar disorder.

“We can use genes as a tool to stratify people to see who is at risk, and that could help us better study environmental risk factors,” Hyman said.

Benjamin Neale, co-director of the medical and population genetics program at the Broad Institute, said he believed the study would provide important information about the disease.

“The long-term hope is that the genetic findings may form the basis for a better understanding of the underlying biological processes involved in bipolar disorder,” Neale said.

The study explains how the AKAP11 gene influences bipolar disorder at the molecular level and how it can alter the effectiveness of certain treatments for the disorder.

Lithium, a commonly prescribed drug for the disorder, is not always effective and produces side effects in 75% of patients. The AKAP11 gene may interact with lithium treatment, according to the study.

Scientists are still struggling to fully understand the reasons for the development of bipolar disorder and how lithium treatment can alleviate its symptoms.

The researchers plan to conduct further large-scale studies to find genetic risks for bipolar disorder throughout the human genome through sequencing analysis. They also intend to create cellular models with variants of the AKAP11 gene to better understand the mechanisms behind bipolar disorder, which would allow for better diagnostics and new therapies.

Hyman said he believes studying genetics is key to understanding underlying cellular pathways.

“We do genetics primarily because genes are clues to molecular mechanisms that can be clues to both better diagnostics and better therapies,” he said. “And if you don’t understand what’s going on in people, you’re just guessing, and guessing hasn’t gotten us very far in terms of treatments.”

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Genetic link between childhood and adult anxiety and depression https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-between-childhood-and-adult-anxiety-and-depression-2/ Tue, 19 Apr 2022 04:58:41 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-between-childhood-and-adult-anxiety-and-depression-2/ Hereditary factors are partly responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persist into adulthood, according to an international study published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In what is considered the largest study of its kind in the world, the genetics of 64,641 children, aged three to 18, were analyzed […]]]>
Genetic link between childhood and adult anxiety and depression

Hereditary factors are partly responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persist into adulthood, according to an international study published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In what is considered the largest study of its kind in the world, the genetics of 64,641 children, aged three to 18, were analyzed using longitudinal data from the Early Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology consortium. Professor Christel Middeldorp, from the University of Queensland (UQ), said the study showed children who had similar levels of anxiety and depression were also genetically similar.

“It also revealed a genetic overlap between childhood and adult mental health disorders when comparing the results of this childhood study with the results of previous studies in adults,” said said Middeldorp.

“These results are important because they help identify those most at risk of symptoms persisting throughout life, so that intensive treatment can be provided if needed.”

It is believed to be the first time that researchers have conducted such a large-scale study examining the role of genetics in repeated measures of anxiety and depression in children. Middeldorp said genetic variants need to be studied because they increase the risk of recurrence and co-occurrence with other disorders.

“Mental health symptoms often overlap, so those with anxiety or depression have a greater risk of conditions such as ADHD, aggressive behavior,” she said.

“We found that this co-occurrence is also due to genetic variants.”

Genetics accounts for about 40% of a person’s risk for anxiety and depression, with environmental factors accounting for the rest. Middeldorp said while everyone can feel anxious or depressed from time to time, some people are better able to adapt to life’s circumstances.

“People with an anxiety disorder ruminate on their situation, preventing them from moving on,” she said.

“There is a difference in how people respond to stressors, and part of that difference is genetic.”

The researchers will now analyze the interplay of genetics and environmental variables, such as school and family life, to see how they together influence anxiety and depression in children.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/WavebreakMediaMicro

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A possible genetic link to suicidal behavior https://geneticscienceservices.com/a-possible-genetic-link-to-suicidal-behavior/ Wed, 13 Apr 2022 21:21:00 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/a-possible-genetic-link-to-suicidal-behavior/ LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers suicide a serious health concern. More than one million people in the United States attempted suicide in 2021. About 45,000 died by suicide, about once every 11 minutes. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the country. After: Health Stories One […]]]>

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers suicide a serious health concern.

More than one million people in the United States attempted suicide in 2021. About 45,000 died by suicide, about once every 11 minutes. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

After: Health Stories

One of the largest suicide studies suggests there may be a genetic factor. The researchers examined the DNA of 500,000 people, 30,000 of whom had attempted suicide.

“What we have found is that there is in fact an independent genetic risk that directly contributes to attempted suicide that is not simply due to the risk of psychiatric disorders,” said Dr Douglas M. Ruderfer.

The researchers identified this increased risk from a region on chromosome seven. Even after controlling for psychiatric disorders, this risk was still significant.

“It really supports the idea that there is no single risk factor that simply defines suicide attempts,” said Dr JooEun Kang.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers anonymous assistance and non-judgmental support. He can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-273-8255.

Copyright 2022 WILX. All rights reserved.

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Genetic link found between human development and sea anemones https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-found-between-human-development-and-sea-anemones/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 19:04:25 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-found-between-human-development-and-sea-anemones/ A chromosome linked to auditory maturation in adults has also recently been associated with perceptual growth in marine invertebrates. The louse-iv (pow-four) genotype is found in the appendages of the starlet sea anemone also known as Nematostella vectensis plays an important role in the sensory perception of the organism. Sea anemones and humans According to […]]]>

A chromosome linked to auditory maturation in adults has also recently been associated with perceptual growth in marine invertebrates.

The louse-iv (pow-four) genotype is found in the appendages of the starlet sea anemone also known as Nematostella vectensis plays an important role in the sensory perception of the organism.

Sea anemones and humans

According to ScienceAlert, the phylum to which sea anemones belong, Cnidaria, is the closest thing related to Bilateria, bilaterally symmetrical organisms such as humanity, having diverged after their last common ancestor 748 to 604 million years ago. ‘years.

Exploration of the starlet sea anemone’s particular genetic contribution implies that it was widespread in their related species and most likely also played a factor in sensorimotor growth.

According to University of Arkansas biologist Nagayasu Nakanishi, said investigation is intriguing primarily because it opens up a large number of empirical studies on how mechanosensation takes hold and functions in a sea anemone, but it also informs the researcher that the basic components of our ability to hear have underlying adaptive foundations from antiquity dating back hundreds of thousands of years to the Paleozoic.

Stereocilia are the mechanoreceptors of sound perception in humans as well as in similar animals. These lymphocytes display clusters of finger-like projections called stereocilia that detect biomechanical inputs, specifically the oscillations we perceive as audio.

Pou-iv is essential for the formation of hair cells in mammals; scientists understand this just because the mice that have had the iv louse removed are deaf.

The tendrils of the starlet sea anemone have comparable special effector hair cells that allow it to sense motility. Nevertheless, very little has been well understood about the louse-iv mutation in anemones and what function, if any, it performs in sensorimotor growth.

A study by University of Arkansas scientist Ethan Ozment, published under the National Center for Biotechnology Information, sought to find out what the mutation was doing. The easiest way to do this is to use CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to turn off the protein and then monitor what happens. So that’s what the band did.

They administered a Cas9 protein cocktail to starlet sea anemone embryos developed to knock out the louse-iv gene, then analyzed the growing fetuses and adult mutant anemones.

Unlike ferocious-type regulatory anemones, genetically mutated subjects show structural abnormalities of dark sensory neurons, as well as no rebuttals to contact. Without louse, anemones were unable to perceive structural sensations via their sensory neurons.

Also read: A camouflaged squid caught on camera in Japan, observed for the first time in the laboratory

Genetic link discovered by experts

The results indicate that louse-iv exerted an influence on the growth of specialized nerve molecules in related species of Cnidaria and Bilateria, according to the investigators. Additionally, to connect DNA further, evidence from various phyla with older split sites might be needed.

As shown on the Elife Sciences website, in their report, the researchers stated that the results suggest that louse involvement in mechanoreceptor maturation is largely maintained in Cnidaria as well as Bilateria.

As to how quickly in animal development the importance of louse-iv in somatosensory development has remained uncertain and requires further information on placozoans and sponges, which are lacking.

Related Article: New Study Reveals Genetic Link Between Blood Tests and Mental Health Disorders

© 2022 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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A strange genetic link between humans and sea anemones has just been confirmed https://geneticscienceservices.com/a-strange-genetic-link-between-humans-and-sea-anemones-has-just-been-confirmed/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 03:05:49 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/a-strange-genetic-link-between-humans-and-sea-anemones-has-just-been-confirmed/ A gene linked to hearing development in humans has also just been linked to sensory development in sea anemones. Called louse-iv (pow-four), the gene is found in the tentacles of the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), where it plays a crucial role in the animal’s sense of touch. Cnidaria, the phylum to which sea anemones […]]]>

A gene linked to hearing development in humans has also just been linked to sensory development in sea anemones.

Called louse-iv (pow-four), the gene is found in the tentacles of the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), where it plays a crucial role in the animal’s sense of touch.

Cnidaria, the phylum to which sea anemones belong, is the closest relative of Bilateria, animals with bilateral symmetry such as humans, diverging from their last common ancestor who lived around 748 to 604 million years ago. .

Finding the role of the gene in the starlet sea anemone suggests that it was present in their common ancestor and likely played a role in sensory development back then as well.

“This study is exciting because it has not only opened up a new field of research into how mechanosensation develops and functions in a sea anemone…it also informs us that the building blocks of our sense of hearing have ancient evolutionary roots dating back hundreds of millions of years to the Precambrian,” said biologist Nagayasu Nakanishi from the University of Arkansas.

In humans and other vertebrates, the sensory receptors in the auditory system are called hair cells. These cells have bundles of finger-like organelles called stereocilia that sense mechanical stimuli; namely, the vibrations we hear as sound. In mammals, louse-iv is necessary for the development of hair cells; we know this because the mice that have had louse-iv knocked out are deaf.

The starlet sea anemone has similar mechanosensory hair cells on its tentacles, used to detect movement. However, little was known about the anemone louse-iv gene and what role, if any, it played in sensory development.

A team of researchers led by biologist Ethan Ozment from the University of Arkansas wanted to figure out what the gene was doing. The best way to do this is to turn off the gene using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool and observe the changes. So that’s what the team did.

They injected a cocktail containing the Cas9 protein into fertilized starlet sea anemone eggs to cut the louse-iv gene, and studied developing embryos, as well as cultured and mutated anemones.

Compared to wild-type control anemones, the mutant animals showed abnormal tentacular hair cell development and showed no response to touch. Without louse-ivanemones were unable to sense mechanical stimuli via their hair cells.

Moreover, knock out louse-iv in anemones has significantly deleted a gene very similar to the one that makes polycystin 1 found in vertebrates, where it is required for the detection of fluid flow through the kidneys. Sea anemones may not have kidneys, but sensing liquid flow would be a useful ability for marine animals.

Together, the researchers said, the results suggest that louse-iv played a role in the development of mechanosensory cells in the common ancestor between Cnidaria and Bilateria. However, to trace the gene even further will require data from other phyla with earlier points of divergence.

Our results indicate that the role of louse-iv in mechanoreceptor development is largely conserved across Cnidaria and Bilateria,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

“How long has the role of louse-iv in mechanoreceptor differentiation that arose in animal evolution remains unresolved and requires comparative data on placozoans and sponges, which are lacking.

The research has been published in eLife.

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Scientists detect genetic link between blood test results and certain mental disorders https://geneticscienceservices.com/scientists-detect-genetic-link-between-blood-test-results-and-certain-mental-disorders/ Fri, 08 Apr 2022 07:17:36 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/scientists-detect-genetic-link-between-blood-test-results-and-certain-mental-disorders/ According to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from nearly one million people, mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and anorexia, show links with biological markers detected in blood tests of routine. The research will increase our understanding of the causes of mental illness and could help identify new treatments. Healthy body, […]]]>

According to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from nearly one million people, mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and anorexia, show links with biological markers detected in blood tests of routine.

The research will increase our understanding of the causes of mental illness and could help identify new treatments.

Healthy body, healthy mind

People often view mental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body. This is far from true: there is clear evidence that many biochemicals implicated in diseases such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases have a direct impact on the functioning of our brains.

Many studies have attempted to address this issue by focusing on substances called biomarkers that can be easily measured in the blood.

A biomarker is simply something in the body that is indicative of a particular disease or process. These are often related to the kinds of things reported in a blood test prescribed by your doctor, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, liver enzymes, vitamins, or markers of inflammation.

The biomarkers found in routine blood tests are useful because they are often affected by diet and lifestyle, or by drug treatment.

The complex role of genetics in mental health

It is often difficult to study the role of these blood biomarkers in mental health problems. Many studies in this area are often not large enough to draw strong conclusions.

One solution is to examine the genetic influences on mental illness and the substances measured in the blood. Genetics is useful because we now have data from millions of people who have volunteered in research studies.

Mental illnesses and blood biomarkers are what geneticists call “complex traits.” In complex traits, many genes are involved and environmental factors also contribute.

The widespread availability of genetic data has allowed us to study how large numbers of tiny changes in DNA sequence (or “variants”) are linked to the risk of mental illness. These same variants can then also be linked to measured levels of a biomarker in the blood.

For example, a variation in a particular gene may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and also be linked to decreased levels of a vitamin circulating in the blood.

Most of these variants are individually associated with very small changes in something like mental illness risk, but they can add up to produce larger effects.

How are blood biomarkers linked to mental illness?

Our recent study sought to use genetics to investigate the relationship between nine mental health disorders and 50 factors measured in routine blood tests, such as cholesterol, vitamins, enzymes and indicators of inflammation.

We used data from very large studies conducted by other people, with data from nearly one million volunteers included in total.

Our study first confirmed the existence of what is called genetic correlation between blood biomarkers and mental illness, which was more prevalent than previously shown.

Genetic correlation means that the effect of DNA sequence changes on mental illness risk and levels of a given biomarker were more similar to each other than would occur by chance alone.

To take one example, there was a positive genetic correlation in our study between white blood cell count and depression. This could indicate that some process in our body influences both depression and white blood cells.

If we could identify what this shared process is, it could lead to a better understanding of what causes depression and this could be targeted for treatment.

Correlation versus causation

Our study showed that there was correlation between the genetics of mental illness and blood factors, but this does not tell us whether blood biomarkers are involved in this causes mental illness.

To distinguish correlation from causation in medicine, the gold standard approach is to conduct clinical trials where patients are randomly given a treatment or a placebo. However, these trials are expensive and difficult to conduct.

We did the next best thing: use DNA variants linked to changes in blood biomarkers to act as a natural clinical trial. This process takes advantage of the fact that we randomly inherit DNA variants from our parents, similar to how participants in a clinical trial are randomly given a treatment or a placebo.

It is a complex method and the results must be interpreted with care.

We found evidence that certain substances measured in blood may actually be involved in causing certain mental illnesses. Proteins related to the immune system, for example, may be implicated in depression, schizophrenia and anorexia.

Further work is now needed to identify how precisely these blood measurements are implicated in these disorders, and whether they can be targeted for treatment.

William Reay, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, University of Newcastle.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Genetic link between childhood and adult anxiety and depression https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-between-childhood-and-adult-anxiety-and-depression/ Thu, 07 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://geneticscienceservices.com/genetic-link-between-childhood-and-adult-anxiety-and-depression/ Summary: Genetic factors are responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persist into adulthood. Source: University of Queensland According to researchers from the University of Queensland, hereditary factors are partly responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persists into adulthood. In the largest study of its kind in the world, the genetics of 64,641 children, […]]]>

Summary: Genetic factors are responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persist into adulthood.

Source: University of Queensland

According to researchers from the University of Queensland, hereditary factors are partly responsible for childhood anxiety and depression that persists into adulthood.

In the largest study of its kind in the world, the genetics of 64,641 children, ages 3 to 18, were analyzed using longitudinal data from the Early Genetics and Lifeforce Epidemiology consortium.

Professor Christel Middeldorp, who holds a joint position with the UQ Child Health Research Center and Children’s Health Queensland, said the study showed children who had similar levels of anxiety and depression also genetically resembled each other.

“It also revealed a genetic overlap between childhood and adult mental health disorders when comparing the results of this childhood study with the results of previous studies in adults.

“These findings are important because they help identify those most at risk of symptoms persisting throughout life, so that intense treatment can be provided if needed,” Professor Middeldorp said.

This is the first time that researchers have conducted such a large-scale study examining the role of genetics in repeated measures of anxiety and depression in children.

Professor Middeldorp said genetic variants needed to be studied because they increased the risk of recurrence and co-occurrence with other disorders.

“Mental health symptoms often overlap, so those with anxiety or depression have a greater risk of conditions such as ADHD, aggressive behavior,” she said.

Professor Middeldorp said genetic variants needed to be studied because they increased the risk of recurrence and co-occurrence with other disorders. Image is in public domain

“We found that this co-occurrence is also due to genetic variants,” said Professor Middeldorp.

Genetics accounts for about 40% of a person’s risk for anxiety and depression, with environmental factors accounting for the rest.

Professor Middeldorp said that while everyone can feel anxious or depressed from time to time, some people are better able to adapt to life’s circumstances.

“People with an anxiety disorder ruminate on their situation, preventing them from moving on,” she said. “There is a difference in how people respond to stressors, and part of that difference is genetic.”

The researchers will now analyze the interplay of genetics and environmental variables, such as school and family life, to see how they together influence anxiety and depression in children.

About this genetics and mental health research news

Author: Press office
Source: University of Queensland
Contact: Press Office – University of Queensland
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: Free access.
“Genome-wide association meta-analysis of childhood and adolescent internalizing symptoms” by Eshim S. Jami et al. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Abstract

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Genome-wide association meta-analysis of childhood and adolescent internalizing symptoms

Goal

Study the genetic architecture of internalizing symptoms in childhood and adolescence.

Method

In 22 cohorts, multiple univariate genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were performed using repeated assessments of internalizing symptoms, in a total of 64,561 children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years. Results were aggregated in meta-analyses that accounted for sample overlap, first using all available data and then using subsets of measures grouped by rater, age, and instrument.

Results

The meta-analysis of global internalizing symptoms (INTglobally) detected no significant genome-wide findings and showed low single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability (1.66%, 95% CI = 0.84-2.48%, nefficient = 132,260). Stratified analyzes indicated rater-based heterogeneity in genetic effects, with self-reported internalizing symptoms showing the highest heritability (5.63%, 95% CI = 3.08%-8.18% ).

The additive genetic effects on internalizing symptoms appeared to be stable over age, with overlapping estimates of the heritability of SNPs from infancy through adolescence. Genetic correlations have been observed with anxiety, depression and the spectrum of well-being in adults (|rg| > 0.70), as well as with insomnia, loneliness, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism and childhood aggression (range |rg| = 0.42-0.60), while there were no robust associations with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or anorexia nervosa.

Conclusion

Genetic correlations indicate that internalizing symptoms of childhood and adolescence share substantial genetic vulnerabilities with adult internalizing disorders and other childhood psychiatric traits, which may explain part of both the persistence of internalizing symptoms over time and the high comorbidity among childhood psychiatric traits. Reducing phenotypic heterogeneity in child samples will be key to paving the way for future success of GWAS.

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