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Genomics Week in Brief: Week Ending 14th June

We had a fun-filled few days at The Festival of Genomics and Biodata last week, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of exciting news elsewhere. In Week in Brief, we summarise the latest developments so you only need to look in one place.

How can ancient DNA influence modern research?

The Wellcome Sanger Institute has announced a new project that seeks to analyse ancient DNA to understand how crops once responded to climate change and environmental stressors. The work should help to inform the development of sustainable plants for the future (Wellcome Sanger Institute).

An international team of researchers has reconstructed the ancient genomes of two malaria parasites. This new data allows researchers to infer important information about the evolution and spread of the disease (Nature).

AI continues to show promise in healthcare…

Researchers have used an advanced AI tool to identify genetic variants associated with coronary artery disease. This new understanding of the molecular basis of the condition could lead to more effective therapies (Nature Genetics).

An AI-powered liquid biopsy method has shown promise in the early detection of cancer recurrence. The tool has the potential to revolutionise the monitoring of disease progression (Nature Medicine).

Cardiovascular health has been in the spotlight this week…

An analysis of single-cell RNA-seq data has revealed new mechanisms underpinning stroke occurrence. These discoveries could be exploited for the development of personalised treatments (Circulation Research).  

Combining clinical risk scores with polygenic risk scores leads to more effective identification of those at risk of heart attacks and stroke, allowing for earlier intervention (European Heart Journal).

Researchers have discovered more about cancer development…

Following a warning in late 2023 about the development of secondary cancers associated with CAR-T cell therapy, a study has shown that the risk is lower than previously thought (NEJM).

Scientists have assessed how strand-asymmetric process (like replication or transcription) influence a cell’s mutational profile and contribute to the development of cancer (Nature).

What else has gone on this week?

A study has shown that plant bacterial pathogens are able to repurpose phage elements to fight competing microbes. This finding could be utilised to create alternatives to antibiotics (Science).

A study has shown that personalised guidelines based on an individual’s genetics were effective in significantly reducing alcohol consumption in young people (BMC Medicine).

Finally, a study has shown that some of the guides used in CRISPR screens miss key targets, particularly in cells from people of African ancestry, due to reference genomes being build using European data (Nature Communications).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here.