Mobile Menu

Genomics Week in Brief: Week ending 12th January

2024 has got off to a flying start in terms of genomics news, and this week is no different. In Week in Brief, we explore some of the latest updates and biggest developments.

What’s been going on in microbiology research?

  • A new study has assessed the role of damaging gut bacteria in early-onset bowel cancer, the incidence of which has significantly increased in young people over the last 20 years (British Journal of Cancer).
  • A large-scale assessment of antibiotic use in the UK and Norway has revealed that consumption of antibiotics is not the only driver of multi-drug resistance (The Lancet Microbe).

New treatment avenues for cancer have been identified…

  • The second iteration of the Cancer Dependency Map revealed 370 new priority drug targets for various cancer types (Cancer Cell).
  • The Nobel-prize winning ‘click chemistry’ concept has been used to map enzymes that could be key targets for cancers and other conditions (Nature Biotechnology).
  • A new study has revealed the genomic landscape of paediatric acute myeloid leukemia, which could lead to better diagnosis and treatment options (Nature Genetics).
  • Researchers have discovered 13 distinct mutational patterns underpinning cancer evolution and mutation risk in different individuals (Nature Cancer).

It’s been a huge week for ancient DNA research…

  • A new technique to analyse chromosomes in ancient genomes has led to the discovery of the first prehistoric individual with Turner syndrome (Communications Biology).
  • A collection papers published in Nature this week have detailed findings from a new gene bank of ancient DNA samples. Revelations from this resource include the origins of some neurodegenerative diseases and the impact of migration on human health (Nature).

And COVID-19 is still at the forefront of peoples’ minds…

  • Mice without key immune cells did not develop COVID-19 symptoms when infected with the virus, according to a new study. This implies that the symptomatic response to the infection is caused by the adaptive immune cells that are acting to clear the pathogen (Science Advances).
  • Scientists have designed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate using a synthetic antigen that is effective against all current, and potentially future, strains (npj Vaccines).
  • How can we repurpose technology? A recent study has explored the use of mRNA technology – similar to that used in previous COVID-19 vaccines – in gene therapy for a rare liver disease (Science Translational Medicine).

What else has been in the news this week?

  • A single-cell atlas of the placenta during full-term labour has been created. This atlas allows for an understanding of gene expression changes in maternal and foetal-derived cells during birth (Science Translational Medicine).
  • Researchers have genetically modified pluripotent stem cells in a bid to prevent immunological rejection following transplants. The work could be transformative in the field of regenerative medicine (Stem Cell Reports).
  • A large-scale study of diverse genomes has revealed over 200 genes that are newly implicated in depression. These genes could serve as drug targets to treat the condition (Nature Genetics).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here.