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Genomics Week in Brief: Week ending 19th August

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

Top stories from the past week:

  • An analysis of thousands of cancer genomes has revealed a new type of ‘scar’ left over by homologous recombination deficiency. If these findings make it to the clinic, patients who would benefit from certain targeted treatments could be identified (Nature).
  • A preclinical study has shown that gene-editing technology can treat simian immunodeficiency virus, a pathogen related to HIV (Gene Therapy).
  • Scientists have identified the mechanisms through which mutations in the NEK1 gene cause ALS (Science Advances).
  • Researchers have used CRISPR to develop genetic models of uterine fibroids, allowing for better research into potential treatments (Nature Communications).
  • Gene therapy could be used to treat severe alcohol-use disorder, according to a recent study in non-human primates (Nature Medicine).
  • A large-scale proteomics analysis of multiple cancer types has revealed how different proteins play a role in disease (Cell).
  • Make sure you eat your vegetables! Research has revealed that a molecule found in foods such as broccoli could reduce the impacts of lung infections (Nature).
  • Organoids have been generated that secrete proteins that make up dental enamel, in a step towards developing stem cell therapies for dental purposes (Developmental Cell).
  • A new single-cell multi-omics tool has been developed that can determine the impact of aberrant RNA splicing (Cell Stem Cell).
  • Researchers have investigated the tumour-suppressive abilities of a signalling protein found in the reproductive tract and its potential to treat ovarian cancer (Nature).
  • The role of the human yolk sac in early embryonic development has been mapped as part of the Human Cell Atlas initiative. The work revealed that the sac plays the role of multiple organs before they have the chance to form (Science).
  • A study has revealed that most age-related gene expression changes in the brain occur in the white matter (Cell).
  • Expanded repeat RNA forms aggregates may be responsible for the onset of triplet repeat disorders such as Huntington’s disease. It was previously thought that only aggregate proteins could cause these diseases (Nature Chemical Biology).

In other news:

  • Scientists have revealed that a pig kidney that was transplanted into a brain-dead patient has functioned normally for over a month, with observations still ongoing. The news is a significant step forward for the use of animal organs to treat human disease (Associated Press).
  • New genetic analysis of Ötzi the Iceman, an ancient human specimen discovered in the 1990s, has revealed that he had a dark skin tone and was likely suffering from male pattern baldness (Nature).
  • Finally, the UK Health Security Agency has backed the idea of allowing COVID-19 vaccines to be obtained and purchased privately (The Guardian)

Read last week’s Genomics Week in Brief here!