Identifying epigenetic DNA changes with blood tests

This 2015 Chinese human study found:

“With reference to methylation profiles of different tissues, we developed a general approach for studying the major tissue contributors to the circulating DNA pool..This development has opened up numerous research avenues and diagnostic applications.

Our study takes advantage of the recent availability of reference methylomes of a number of tissues. It is likely that such reference databases would be continually updated to include more sample types and from more individuals.”

Up to 41% of plasma DNA in pregnant women was from the placenta. However, I didn’t understand why the non-pregnant women in the control group had measurable placental DNA of up to 2.9%. Maybe it was leftover from a prior pregnancy?

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/40/E5503.full “Plasma DNA tissue mapping by genome-wide methylation sequencing for noninvasive prenatal, cancer, and transplantation assessments”

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