Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Découvertes et avancées | Scientific result | Brain | Medical imaging | Genomics
Using the UK Biobank cohort, researchers at the Joliot-NeuroSpin and the Jacob-CNRGH explored genome-wide associations between groups of linked genes (haplotypes) and the opening of brain sulci, an indicator of brain aging.
General population genetics-neuroimaging cohorts gather two types of data: brain imaging and genetics. These unique tools make it possible to research correlations between genetic variants and imaged brain features, and more generally, to study the influence of genetics and the environment on the variance of brain features observed in normal and pathological populations. By analyzing such cohorts, the researchers hope to discover genetic associations with earlier or more reliable image characteristics, as compared to the diagnostics observable at the individual clinical level.
The UK Biobank cohort, comprising 16,304 subjects at the time of the study, is currently the best example of this ambitious approach. For each subject, the researchers measured:
They then looked for correlations between these two sets of measurements, equal to 1,051,316 × 123 combinations! They could thus identify several genomic regions of interest (on chromosomes 9, 12, and 16) associated with sulci openings. This result was replicated in approximately 5,000 non-cohort subjects.The researchers could thus map sulci across the whole brain that show variability in openings related at least partially to genomic regions. They were also able to compare their haplotypic approach to classical association methods using SNPs only where each genetic variant is treated individually. In particular, they could demonstrate that their genome-wide haplotype analyses are more sensitive and represent an interesting, statistically sound alternative.
Learn more about the UK Biobank cohort.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.