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Genomics week in brief: Week ending 29th 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:

  • Scientists have developed a new type of oral drug capsule to administer insulin and other drugs typically delivered to the body via injection (Biomaterials Advances).
  • DNA methylation markers have been identified in newborns that could be used to predict future schizophrenia risk (Molecular Psychiatry).
  • A new potential gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease has been developed. The therapy involves the silencing of the gene responsible for tau production, lowering levels of the harmful protein (Nature Medicine).
  • Epigenetic changes in a father’s sperm could be linked to autism spectrum disorder in their children (Molecular Psychiatry).
  • Researchers have identified a significant number of genetic loci and gene expression changes linked to the onset of age-related macular degeneration (Cell Genomics).
  • A gene therapy that has shown positive results in dogs with eye conditions is ready to be repurposed for future use in humans with retinal pigmentosa (Molecular Therapy).
  • Scientists have developed a ‘mini-gene’ to replace the mutated gene that causes Usher syndrome type 1F – a genetic condition that causes deafness and blindness (Nature Communications).
  • Using data from UK Biobank, researchers have uncovered a link between the gut microbiome, the blood metabolome and major depressive disorder (JAMA Psychiatry).
  • 3D genome mapping has been used to determine the organisation of the genome in a deadly childhood tumour, leading to the identification of potential therapeutic targets (Nature Communications).
  • Researchers have identified a new disease caused by mutations in the MAP4K4 gene. The as-yet unnamed condition has been observed in 21 families and leads to neurodevelopmental abnormalities (Science Advances).
  • Overuse of antimicrobials in an agricultural setting can contribute to the evolution of bacterial resistance to human innate immune responses (eLife).
  • Scientists have developed a new urine test that could be used to detect cancer. The technology uses nanoparticle sensors and can detect many different tumour characteristics, including treatment response (Nature Nanotechnology).

In other news:

  • The Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health has published a report this week addressing a public dialogue about genomics. The report covers a variety of issues in the implementation of genomic medicine including policy making and discrimination (Council of Europe).
  • The first pill to facilitate fecal transplantation in adults at risk for C. difficile infection has been approved in the US (Guardian).
  • Statistics from the ONS have revealed that around 5% of young men and 1% of young women in England may be unknowingly suffering from hypertension (BBC).