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Genomics week in brief: Week ending 15th April

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

Top stories from the past week:

  • A protein that is crucial in repairing damaged DNA in cancer cells has been identified. The functional protein allows cancerous cells to thrive whereas its suppression leads to cancer cell death, without impacting healthy neighbouring cells (Molecular Cell).
  • A gene has been identified that contributes to risk of cardiovascular diseases through regulation of downstream vascular-associated genes (Circulation Research).
  • A gene therapy involving injection of antisense oligonucleotides into muscle has successfully treated myotonic dystrophy in mice (Nature Communications).
  • A large translational study has revealed that genetic background and social rank are the most significant modifiers of lifespan in response to social stress in animals (PNAS).
  • A post-mortem analysis of brains of schizophrenia patients has revealed reduced RNA-editing in those suffering from the condition (Science Advances).
  • Epstein-Barr virus has been revealed to cause chromosomal breakage, leading to genomic instability that can cause cancer (Nature).
  • A T-cell based vaccine against COVID-19 has shown promising results in mice (Frontiers in Immunology).
  • Scientists have created the largest ever atlas of post-zygotic gene mutations in healthy human tissues. The resource could be revolutionary in human disease research (Science).
  • An artificial intelligence model could be used to predict treatment response and survival in colorectal cancer patients (Nature Communications).
  • In a study of unicellular organisms, researchers have identified over 30,000 novel viruses that have integrated into host genomes (PNAS).
  • A metagenomic study has revealed that babies’ gut microbiomes are more diverse than previously thought, with over 200 novel viral families identified (Nature Microbiology).
  • Researchers have identified a genetic signature in pre-malignant liver cells, a finding that could potentially lead to the development of a new diagnostic test for liver cancer (Cell Genomics).
  • Researchers have successfully harvested tumour immune cells from blood, potentially improving the practice of adoptive cell therapy (Nature Biomedical Engineering).

In other news:

  • Over 5,500 people suffering from developmental disorders have received a genetic diagnosis as part of the Deciphering Developmental Disorders study. The collaboration between the NHS and the Wellcome Sanger Institute saw over 13,000 families recruited to gain an understanding of mechanisms underpinning previously undiagnosed conditions (Sanger Institute).
  • A UK hospital is trialling a new device that promises to improve the mobility of patients with Parkinson’s disease (BBC).
  • Ghana is the first country to approve use of the R21 malaria vaccine, thought to be 80% effective (BBC).