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Genomics Week in Brief: Week ending 5th 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:

  • PARP inhibitors may be effective in more patients than previously thought. The drugs are typically used to treat BRCA-related cancers, but have now been seen to be effective against a wider range of tumours (Nature Genetics).
  • Individuals with endometriosis may have a heightened genetic risk for a number of mental health conditions (JAMA Network Open).
  • Researchers have identified several sex- and age-specific genes that impact an individual’s risk of obesity (Cell Genomics).
  • HPV-related head and neck cancers can be split into two distinct subgroups, according to a recent study. This finding could be used to inform tailored treatment regimens (PNAS).
  • Scientists have discovered a class of molecules that can inhibit efflux pumps in bacteria, a finding that could potentially help in the fight against antibiotic resistance (Nature Communications).
  • A large-scale study of families where several members have autism has revealed new genetic insights into the disorder (PNAS).
  • Artificial intelligence has been used to assess breast scans for signs of cancer, providing comparable results to those given by a radiologist (The Lancet Oncology).
  • CRISPR-Cas9 could be used to increase expression of delta-globin, a technique that could be used to treat hereditary anaemias (eLife).
  • High-throughout drug screening in patient-derived cells may be able to identify effective treatments for children with cancer (Cancer Research).
  • Certain strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can breach the blood-brain barrier. This finding contributes to our understanding of how the virus impacts brain cells (Journal of Neuroinflammation).
  • A study in C. elegans has revealed that eating certain foods in early pregnancy could lead to intergenerational protection of axons (Nature Cell Biology).
  • Structural features, such as twisting, can influence mutation rates at different places within DNA (Nucleic Acids Research).

In other news:

  • The Wellcome Sanger Institute has announced a project that will investigate the link between the childhood gut microbiome and mental health in later life. The project, entitled ‘Microbes, Milk, Mental Health and Me’ will assess samples from over 7,000 infants and their mothers (Wellcome Sanger Institute).
  • An essay published in PLOS Biology advocates for the continued development of sequencing technologies in order to prepare for future pathogen surveillance, highlighting the importance of genomics research during the COVID-19 pandemic (PLOS Biology).
  • A new vaccine research centre has been opened in Wiltshire, which will allow scientists to prepare for so-called ‘disease X’, a move that could speed up the response to potential future pandemics (The Guardian).

Read last week’s Genomics Week in Brief here!