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Current Genetic Medicine Reports

William E Tidyman, Katherine A Rauen
The Ras/mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is essential in the regulation of cell cycle, differentiation, growth, cell senescence and apoptosis, all of which are critical to normal development. A class of neurodevelopmental disorders, RASopathies, is caused by germline mutations in genes of the Ras/MAPK pathway. Through the use of whole exome sequencing and targeted sequencing of selected genes in cohorts of panel-negative RASopathy patients, several new genes have been identified. These include: RIT1, SOS2, RASA2, RRAS and SYNGAP1, that likely represent new, albeit rare, causative RASopathy genes...
September 2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Martine Lappé
Environmental epigenetics is the study of how exposures and experiences can turn genes "on" or "off" without changing DNA sequence. By examining the influence that environmental conditions including diet, stress, trauma, toxins, and care can have on gene expression, this science suggests molecular connections between the environment, genetics, and how acquired characteristics may be inherited across generations. The rapid expansion of research in this area has attracted growing media attention. This coverage has implications for how parents and prospective parents understand health and their perceived responsibilities for children's wellbeing...
September 2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Maya Sabatello, S Appelbaum
This paper considers the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by the prospect of increasing use of psychiatric genetic data in child custody litigation. Although genetic tests cannot currently confirm a parent or child's psychiatric diagnosis, it is likely that as relevant findings emerge, they will be introduced in family courts to challenge parental capacity. Here, we draw on three projected, but plausible, scenarios for obtaining psychiatric data about parents -- imposed genetic testing, access to medical records, and genetic theft -- then consider the use of psychiatric genetic data of children, to highlight the issues that judges, child custody evaluators, and clinicians who may provide treatment for parents or children with mental health issues will need to consider...
September 2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Lulu I T Korsak, Molly E Mitchell, Katherine A Shepard, Michael R Akins
RNA localization is a key mechanism in the regulation of protein expression. In neurons, this includes the axonal transport of select mRNAs based on the recognition of axonal localization motifs in these RNAs by RNA binding proteins. Bioinformatic analyses of axonal RNAs suggest that selective inclusion of such localization motifs in mature mRNAs is one mechanism controlling the composition of the axonal transcriptome. The subsequent translation of axonal transcripts in response to specific stimuli provides precise spatiotemporal control of the axonal proteome...
March 2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Jeffrey R Botkin, Erin Rothwell
Clinical applications of next generation sequencing are growing at a tremendous pace. Currently the largest application of genetic testing in medicine occurs with newborn screening through state-mandated public health programs, and there are suggestions that sequencing could become a standard component of newborn care within the next decade. As such, newborn screening may appear to be a logical starting point to explore whole genome and whole exome sequencing on a population level. Yet, there are a number of ethical, social and legal implications about the use of a mandatory public health screening program that create challenges for the use of sequencing technologies in this context...
March 1, 2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Jacqueline S Dron, Robert A Hegele
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Plasma lipids, namely cholesterol and triglyceride, and lipoproteins, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein, serve numerous physiological roles. Perturbed levels of these traits underlie monogenic dyslipidemias, a diverse group of multisystem disorders. We are on the verge of having a relatively complete picture of the human dyslipidemias and their components. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent advances in genetics of plasma lipids and lipoproteins include the following: (1) expanding the range of genes causing monogenic dyslipidemias, particularly elevated LDL cholesterol; (2) appreciating the role of polygenic effects in such traits as familial hypercholesterolemia and combined hyperlipidemia; (3) accumulating a list of common variants that determine plasma lipids and lipoproteins; (4) applying exome sequencing to identify collections of rare variants determining plasma lipids and lipoproteins that via Mendelian randomization have also implicated gene products such as NPC1L1, APOC3, LDLR, APOA5, and ANGPTL4 as causal for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; and (5) using naturally occurring genetic variation to identify new drug targets, including inhibitors of apolipoprotein (apo) C-III, apo(a), ANGPTL3, and ANGPTL4...
2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
David Cano-Rodriguez, Marianne G Rots
Genome targeting has quickly developed as one of the most promising fields in science. By using programmable DNA-binding platforms and nucleases, scientists are now able to accurately edit the genome. These DNA-binding tools have recently also been applied to engineer the epigenome for gene expression modulation. Such epigenetic editing constructs have firmly demonstrated the causal role of epigenetics in instructing gene expression. Another focus of epigenome engineering is to understand the order of events of chromatin remodeling in gene expression regulation...
2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Brenda Finucane, Scott M Myers
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Psychiatry is steadily moving toward a new conceptualization of brain disorders that blurs long-held diagnostic distinctions among neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, including autism. Genomic discoveries are driving these changing perceptions, yet there has so far been minimal impact on traditional genetic counseling practices that continue to view autism through the lens of a dichotomous, all-or-none risk model. RECENT FINDINGS: High rates of comorbidity exist across autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, intellectual disability, and other brain-based disorders...
2016: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Alexis C Frazier-Wood
Lipoprotein subclass measures associate with cardiometabolic disease risk. Currently the information that lipoproteins convey on disease risk over that of traditional demographic and lipid measures is minimal, and so their use is clinics is limited. However, lipoprotein subclass perturbations represent some of the earliest manifestations of metabolic dysfunction, and their etiology is partially distinct from lipids, so information on the genetic etiology of lipoproteins offers promise for improved risk prediction, and unique mechanistic insights into IR and atherosclerosis...
December 2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
S A Pendergrass, M D Ritchie
With the large volume of clinical and epidemiological data being collected, increasingly linked to extensive genotypic data, coupled with expanding high-performance computational resources, there are considerable opportunities for comprehensively exploring the networks of connections that exist between the phenome and the genome. These networks can be identified through Phenome-Wide Association Studies (PheWAS) where the association between a collection of genetic variants, or in some cases a particular clinical lab variable, and a wide and diverse range of phenotypes, diagnoses, traits, and/or outcomes are evaluated...
June 1, 2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Donna M Martin
Epigenetic events including chromatin remodeling and histone modifications have recently emerged as important contributors to a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. This review focuses on CHARGE syndrome, a multiple anomaly condition caused by mutations in the gene encoding CHD7, an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling protein. CHD7 exhibits pleiotropic effects during embryonic development, consistent with highly variable clinical features in CHARGE syndrome. In this review, a historical description of CHARGE is provided, followed by establishment of diagnostic criteria, gene discovery, and development of animal models...
March 2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Myra I Roche, Jonathan S Berg
This paper summarizes the current controversies surrounding the identification and disclosure of "incidental" or "secondary" findings from genomic sequencing and the implications for genetic counseling practice. The rapid expansion of clinical sequencing has influenced the ascertainment and return of incidental findings, while empiric data to inform best practices are still being generated. Using the North Carolina Clinical Genomic Evaluation by Next Generation Exome Sequencing (NCGENES) research project as an example, we discuss the implications of different models of consent and their impact on patient decisions...
2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Dale Muzzey, Eric A Evans, Caroline Lieber
Identifying disease-causing mutations in DNA has long been the goal of genetic medicine. In the last decade, the toolkit for discovering DNA variants has undergone rapid evolution: mutations that were historically discovered by analog approaches like Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification ("MLPA") can now be decoded from a digital signal with next-generation sequencing ("NGS"). Given the explosive growth of NGS-based tests in the clinic, it is of the utmost importance that medical practitioners have a fundamental understanding of the newest NGS methodologies...
2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Rita Guerreiro, Jose Bras, Jamie Toombs, Amanda Heslegrave, John Hardy, Henrik Zetterberg
From a neuropathological perspective, elderly patients who die with a clinical diagnosis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) are a heterogeneous group with several different pathologies contributing to the AD phenotype. This poses a challenge when searching for low effect size susceptibility genes for AD. Further, control groups may be contaminated by significant numbers of preclinical AD patients, which also reduces the power of genetic association studies. Here, we discuss how cerebrospinal fluid and imaging biomarkers can be used to increase the chance of finding novel susceptibility genes and as a means to study the functional consequences of risk alleles...
2015: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Adam A Nishimura, Peter Tarczy-Hornoch, Brian H Shirts
Recent successes in the use of gene sequencing for patient care highlight the potential of genomic medicine. For genomics to become a part of usual care, pertinent elements of a patient's genomic test must be communicated to the most appropriate care providers. Electronic medical records may serve as a useful tool for storing and disseminating genomic data. Yet, the structure of existing EMRs and the nature of genomic data pose a number of pragmatic and ethical challenges in their integration. Through a review of the recent genome-EMR integration literature, we explore concrete examples of these challenges, categorized under four key questions: What data will we store? How will we store it? How will we use it? How will we protect it? We conclude that genome-EMR integration requires a rigorous, multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approach of study...
December 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Yan V Sun
DNA methylation (DNAm) is an essential epigenetic mechanism for normal development, and its variation may be associated with diseases. High-throughput technology allows robust measurement of DNA methylome in population studies. Methylome-wide association studies (MWAS) scan DNA methylome to detect new epigenetic loci affecting disease susceptibility. MWAS is an emerging approach to unraveling the mechanism linking genetics, environment, and human diseases. Here I review the recent studies of genetic determinants and environmental modifiers of DNAm, and the concept for partitioning genetic and environmental contribution to DNAm...
December 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Ingrid A Holm
As sequencing becomes integrated into clinical medicine, many complex ethical questions arise regarding the return of genomic information, especially in pediatrics. Issues center on the best interests of the child, particularly in return of information about adult-onset conditions. These include the child's future autonomous decision-making and access to knowledge about treatable conditions, the child in the family unit, and benefit to family members of learning information which could impact them personally...
December 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Yann Heuzé, Gregory Holmes, Inga Peter, Joan T Richtsmeier, Ethylin Wang Jabs
Craniosynostosis, a condition that includes the premature fusion of one or multiple cranial sutures, is a relatively common birth defect in humans and the second most common craniofacial anomaly after orofacial clefts. There is a significant clinical variation among different sutural synostoses as well as significant variation within any given single-suture synostosis. Craniosynostosis can be isolated (i.e., nonsyndromic) or occurs as part of a genetic syndrome (e.g., Crouzon, Pfeiffer, Apert, Muenke, and Saethre-Chotzen syndromes)...
September 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Crystal Humphries, Martin A Kohli
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common dementia in the elderly, still without effective treatment. Early-onset AD (EOAD) is caused by mutations in the genes APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2. Genome-wide association studies have identified >20 late-onset AD (LOAD) susceptibility genes with common variants of small risk, with the exception of APOE. We review rare susceptibility variants in LOAD with larger effects that have been recently identified in the EOAD gene APP and the newly discovered AD genes TREM2 and PLD3...
June 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
Stephanie A Stein, Kristin L Maloney, Toni I Pollin
Most diabetes is polygenic in etiology, with (type 1 diabetes, T1DM) or without (type 2 diabetes, T2DM) an autoimmune basis. Genetic counseling for diabetes generally focuses on providing empiric risk information based on family history and/or the effects of maternal hyperglycemia on pregnancy outcome. An estimated one to five percent of diabetes is monogenic in nature, e.g., maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY), with molecular testing and etiology-based treatment available. However, recent studies show that most monogenic diabetes is misdiagnosed as T1DM or T2DM...
June 1, 2014: Current Genetic Medicine Reports
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