Mobile Menu

Genomics week in brief: Week ending 8th October

Written by Aaron Khemchandani, Science Writer.

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

Top stories from the past week:

  • Precise functioning and three-step mechanism of protein complex protective during Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection uncovered by University of Geneva research team. SMC5/6 complex detects and binds to viral DNA, slowing the progression of HBV pathology (Nature).
  • Epigenetics drug currently used for treatment of rare sarcomas and blood cancers can stop bladder cancer growth through immune activation in mice. (Science Advances).
  • Single-cell sequencing has revealed the molecular processes associated with acute kidney injury. Researchers have uncovered novel gene expression patterns of injured kidney cells, finding that these differ throughout different cells within the organ (MDC Berlin).
  • Researchers identify new gene target for aggressive subtype of lung cancer, the P subtype, for which there is currently no widely effective treatment. When gene was deleted in small-cell lung cancer cells both in mice and in vitro, the cancer cells could not survive (Science Advances).
  • Researchers discover new class of immunostimulatory double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) that activate certain immune responses and inhibit the ability of a range of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and multiple strains of influenza A (Wyss Institute).
  • Microbiologists improve the taste of beer by identifying a yeast gene responsible for much of the drink’s flavour and using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to engineer this genetic trait in other strains (EurekAlert).
  • Scientists unearth new species of wild goat via analysis of ancient DNA. The species, over ten millenia old, were discovered from the genetic screening of bone remains and have been referred to as “the Taurasian tur” (eLife).
  • A genome-wide association study (GWAS) has revealed insights into how the drug capsofungin is used to treat Aspergillus fumigatus fungal infection which, if untreated, has a 50% mortality rate. The GWAS uncovered that in high concentrations, capsofungin can actually exacerbate A. fumigatus growth rather than slow it (Microbiology Spectrum).
  • Researchers identify new drug targets for treatment of non-small cell lung cancers by studying large amounts of noncoding RNAs present in this cancer type and identifying which, upon being inhibited, slowed cancer division in cell culture (University of Bern).
  • Scientists have uncovered certain DNA changes and germline alterations that affect the size, frequency and growth speed of gliomas in animal models (Science).
  • Researchers from the United States National Eye institute used 3D genome organisation tools to map the organisation of human retinal cell chromatin (Nature).
  • Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark have developed RNA ‘origami sponges’, devices that can be implanted into bacteria, remain stable and achieve precise control of protein expression (iNANO).

In other news:

  • An international research collaboration attempting to uncover the genes behind stammering has commenced recruitment. (Genetics of Stuttering Study).
  • Enrolment has begun in an early-stage clinical trial attempting to evaluate the potential of bacteriophage therapy in adults who have cystic fibrosis (CF) and also carry Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the most common cause of CF exacerbation, in their lungs (NIH).
  • Svante Pääbo, a Swedish geneticist specializing in evolutionary genetics, has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries surrounding extinct hominins and human evolution. He sequenced the genome of the Neanderthal and made the extremely significant discovery of the previously unknown Denisova hominin. (Nobel Prize).