Thursday September 19, 2019

New DNA Tool to Predict People’s Height and Risk For Cancer

They put the algorithm to work, evaluating each participant's DNA and teaching the computer to pull out these distinct differences

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DNA
Heavy drinking can change your DNA: Study

Researchers have developed a new DNA tool that uses machine learning to accurately predict people’s height and assess their risk for serious illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

The tool, or algorithm, predicts human traits such as height, bone density and even the level of education a person might achieve that is purely based on one’s genetic material. However, the applications may not stop there.

“While we have validated this tool for these three outcomes, we can now apply this method to predict other complex traits related to health risks such as heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer,” said lead author Stephen Hsu, from Michigan State University, US.

In the study, published in the journal Genetics, the researchers analysed the complete genetic makeup of nearly 5,00,000 adults using machine learning, where a computer learns from data.

The computer accurately predicted everyone’s height within roughly an inch, findings revealed.

DNA
DNA, Pixabay

“The algorithm looks at the genetic makeup and height of each person. The computer learns from each person and ultimately produces a predictor that can determine how tall they are from their genome alone,” Hsu said.

Importantly, while bone density and educational attainment predictors were not as precise, they were accurate enough to identify individuals who were at risk of having very low bone density with osteoporosis or were at risk of struggling in school.

They put the algorithm to work, evaluating each participant’s DNA and teaching the computer to pull out these distinct differences.

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“Our team believes this is the future of medicine. For the patient, a genomic test can be as simple as a cheek swab, with a cost of about $50,” Hsu said.

“Once we calculate the predictors for genetically-based diseases, early intervention can save billions of dollars in treatment costs, and more importantly, save lives,” he noted, adding “This is only the beginning.” (IANS)

Next Story

DNA Changes May Trigger Cancer Along with Other Age-related Diseases

Experts say they will now explore the link between these DNA changes and biological ageing acceleration

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Scientists have found a way of mapping out human DNA.
Scientists have found a way of mapping out human DNA.
DNA changes throughout a person’s life can significantly increase their susceptibility to heart conditions and other age-related diseases, says a research led by an Indian-origin scientist.
Such alterations — known as somatic mutations — can impact the way blood stem cells work and are associated with blood cancers and other conditions, said scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
These somatic mutations and the associated diseases they cause may accelerate a person’s biological age — how old their body appears — faster than their chronological age.
“Previously, somatic mutations have largely been studied in cancer. Our findings suggest they play a role in other diseases, which will change the way we study disease risk,” said Dr Tamir Chandra, Group Leader at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Human Genetics Unit.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, examined these changes and their potential effects in more than 1,000 older people from the Lothian Birth Cohorts (LBCs), born in 1921 and 1936.
Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay
The LBCs are a group of people – now in their 80s and 90s – who sat intelligence tests as 11-year olds. They are some of the most-intensively studied research participants in the world.
Scientists studied people where the biological and chronological age was separated by a large gap.
They found the participants with somatic mutations – around six per cent – had a biological age almost four years older than those with no alterations.
Experts say they will now explore the link between these DNA changes and biological ageing acceleration. (IANS)