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Genomics Week in Brief: Week Ending 3rd May

Welcome back to Week in Brief! We hope you had a great Bank Holiday weekend, and we’ve got the latest news for you to catch up on.

This week has seen the publication of a number of interesting papers related to infectious disease, particularly malaria…

A comprehensive single-cell analysis of a malaria-causing parasite provides new insights into the development of the pathogen. The work opens up new potential therapeutic avenues (Science).

Scientists have mapped infection pathways in the human placenta as part of the Human Cell Atlas initiative. They also identified drug targets for pregnancy-safe therapeutics against infectious diseases, including malaria and toxoplasmosis (Cell Systems).

A new study has revealed that telomere length in white blood cells varies among sub-Saharan African populations, and is associated malaria endemicity (AJHG).

And scientists have learned more about cancer development…

An analysis of genetic data from thousands of kidney cancer patients worldwide has identified an unknown trigger that could explain the high prevalence of the disease in different regions (Nature).

A study has shown that patients who have survived sepsis have a lower risk of developing cancer due to immunological reprogramming in sepsis-trained cells (Nature Immunology).

Scientists have characterised a pathway in lung and breast cells that leads to disruption of the cell cycle and subsequent cancer development when dysregulated  (Science).

Single-cell techniques have been in the spotlight this week…

Researchers have published a comprehensive map of early brain development, between 6 and 13 weeks of gestation. The findings could be used to inform research into brain tumours and other diseases (Nature).

A single-cell analysis of X-chromosome inactivation in mice (XCI) has revealed that biased XCI, where a father’s cells are inactivated in roughly 60% of cells instead of the expected 50%, can protect females from X-linked disorders such as Fragile X syndrome (Cell Reports).

What else has been published this week?

Using data from the UK Biobank, researchers have identified a gene linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, providing a potential new drug target (Cell Metabolism).

A study in mice has revealed that disruption of a father’s gut microbiota leads to a higher chance of placental defects during pregnancy and offspring with a low birth weight (Nature).

A study in rats, using multi-omics techniques, has tracked changes to cells and organs during exercise. The study shed light on the molecular underpinnings of a number of important pathways and conditions (Nature).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here.