Researchers successfully identified hub genes for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) using weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA), as published in BMC Genomic Data

The mainstay of DMD and BMD treatment remains as corticosteroid therapy, mobility exercise, treatment of cardiomyopathy, and more recently, gene therapy.

“However, it is reported that genetic therapy is not usually helpful for a patient who has already lost a substantial part of his muscle tissue and function,” Wang et al explained in their rationale for conducting this study.

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“Therefore, it is necessary to explore hub genes in order to deeply understand genetic etiology and provide new insights into the early diagnosis and treatment that can be targeted in the pharmaceutical strategy.”

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The researchers thus aimed to explore DMD and BMD hub genes via WGCNA using differentially expressed genes (DEGs). They downloaded data regarding the gene expression profiles of patients with DMD and BMD from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database.

They utilized GEO2R, an online tool, to identify DEGs between DMD and BMD vs controls, after which WGCNA was conducted. Through identifying highly correlated hub genes in samples of vastus lateralis from patients with DMD and BMD using WGCNA, the researchers identified 10 hub genes for DMD and BMD respectively.

In addition, they also summarized 5 hub genes for BMD age, as well as 3 highly correlated clustered genes for DMD age and BMD pathology respectively. What are the clinical implications of the identification of hub genes for DMD and BMD by Wang and colleagues?

“It is important to diagnose and treat DMD and BMD at an early age via the expression level of hub genes. Further studies are required to explore the relevant genes in DMD and BMD, as well as pharmaceutical therapies aimed at these targets,” they concluded.


Wang J, Fan Q, Yu T, Zhang Y. Identifying the hub genes for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy by weighted correlation network analysis. BMC Genom Data. 2021;22(1):57. doi:10.1186/s12863-021-01014-w