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Genomics Week in Brief: Week Ending 8th March

What’s been going on in the genomics world this week? In Week in Brief, we summarise the latest developments.

There has been big news in the psychiatry and mental health fields this week…

Researchers have analysed over a million cells for gene expression changes and have discovered that there is overlap between individuals with schizophrenia and the elderly. This suggests a common molecular mechanism (Nature).

A study in mice has identified a region of the genome that acts as a ‘switch’, regulating the expression of genes associated with anxiety (Molecular Psychiatry).

We’ve seen the potential of new tools and techniques…

New biosensing technology has been developed that could rival lab-based PCR tests, providing a rapid alternative for the gene-based diagnosis of disease (Nature Communications).

Researchers have developed a new kind of lipid nanoparticle material that can deliver gene therapies to the lungs and eyes, providing new hopes for the treatment of these conditions (PNAS).

Scientists have discovered that, when treating genetic conditions in utero, it is just as effective to deliver treatments via amniotic fluid as it is to deliver them to the fetal brain via cerebrospinal fluid. This opens up new, less invasive treatment options (Molecular Therapy).

And we have learned more about the impact of genetics on human disease…

A study in zebrafish has identified a gene that prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue. This finding points towards new treatments for conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Nature Communications).

A large-scale GWAS has identified a number of associations between blood-based biomarkers, human disease and metabolic regulation (Nature).

New research has revealed that common inherited genetic risk factors may be linked to elevated risk of cancer in adulthood for those who survived childhood cancer. These results could inform screening processes for these individuals (Nature Medicine).

Scientists have identified a microRNA that is linked to Crohn’s disease. This molecule could be used to predict disease risk and act as a therapeutic target (JCI Insight).

A multi-ancestry genetic analysis has revealed gene clusters and biological mechanisms that could explain the differences in type 2 diabetes risk between individuals (Nature Medicine).

Researchers have discovered a novel receptor function implicated in Fragile X syndrome that could form the basis of new treatments (EMBO Molecular Medicine).

What else has gone on in the last seven days?

A novel gene regulatory process, involved in the silencing of genes during genomic imprinting, has been uncovered, providing new information on the evolution of this crucial mechanism (Nature).

An assessment into the accessibility of genetic medicine  has  discovered that black individuals are less than half as likely to be have genetic testing than white individuals (Neurology).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here.