The Week in Genomics

By Rhonda Reinhart

Jonathan Bailey, NHGRI

DNA determines aspirin’s benefit in preventing colon cancer: Though many studies have found that aspirin can reduce the risk of colon cancer, a new study published in Science Translational Medicine reports that aspirin may benefit some people much more than others. For people with high levels of an enzyme called 15-PGDH, regular aspirin use can cut the risk of colon cancer by 50 percent.

“We need to create learning health systems for delivery and evaluation of genomic information”: That’s the argument Genome editor-at-large Geoffrey Ginsburg makes in an essay published this week in Nature. Among Ginsburg’s suggestions for the future of medical genomics: Healthcare providers need to learn to use electronic medical record-enabled tools, and patients need to define their preferences for what information they want to have placed in those electronic medical records.

As children grow, the influence of genetics over body mass index also grows: By comparing data on more than 2,500 pairs of twins, authors of a new study found that the influence of genetics on differences between children’s BMI rose from 43 percent at age 4 to 82 percent at age 10. “This underlines the importance of intervening at an early age to try to counteract these genetic effects and reduce childhood obesity,” says Clare Llewellyn, one of the study’s researchers.

Happy National DNA Day: For the past 10 years, the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health has sponsored National DNA Day to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003. This year, the special day falls on April 25. In the spirit of the season, here’s a rap about DNA.