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Genomics week in brief: Week ending 11th February

Check out the latest Genomics Week in Brief – full of intriguing news and research from the genomics space!

Top stories from the past week:

  • Shortened telomeres can communicate with mitochondria to prevent the production of cancerous cells (Nature).
  • Researchers have identified the mechanism underlying the rare genetic disorder BPTA. Frameshift mutations in the HMGB1 gene lead to disorganisation of cellular components (Nature).
  • Scientists have discovered how age and sex can influence gene expression and Circadian rhythms (Science).
  • A bacterial immune mechanism that provides anti-viral protection has the potential to influence new CRISPR-like technologies (Nature).
  • The development of a ‘virtual microbiome’ has shown that the current DNA sequence databases used to identify bacteria present in the gut are flawed and often inaccurate (PLoS).
  • Genetic diversity can be significantly impacted by climate change. A study has revealed that much of the diversity we see today in South Asia is as a result of immigration due to rising sea-levels (Nature).
  • Suppression of the SYF2 gene may prevent neurodegeneration and loss of motor function in patients with ALS (Cell).
  • Researchers have analysed DNA methylation markers – a known hallmark of ageing – to assess the impact of calorie intake on ageing (medRxiv).
  • A metagenomics analysis has uncovered gut microbiome-host interactions in ME/CFS patients that are not found in unaffected individuals (Cell Host & Microbe).
  • A new COVID-19 receptor has been found in the lungs that can bind to and immobilise the virus, preventing transmission (PLoS).
  • A genomic analysis of different Zika virus lineages has revealed the mechanisms behind the increased fitness exhibited by certain strains (PLoS).
  • A mutation in a gene that encodes a protein essential for splicing may be associated with the onset of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Nature Communications).
  • A gene expression signature has been identified that can help to characterise the impact of different p53 mutations in cancer patients (PNAS).

In other news:

  • The NHS is to introduce a new rapid genetic test to prevent hearing loss in infants. Some babies are born with a mutation that, when combined with use of the antibiotic gentamicin, can cause deafness – the test will screen for those at risk before the drug is administered (BBC).
  • Scientists have further extended the life of the oldest living lab rat. Sima was born in 2019 and is thought to be the longest surviving lab rat of all time, having been provided with blood and plasma from younger animals in a bid to extend her lifespan. The work provides hope for anti-ageing therapies (Guardian).

More on these topics

Cancer / CRISPR / Multi-omics / Week in brief