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Introducing the ... Exposome!

Scientific American's Katherine Harmon reports on how epidemiologists, inspired by the impact of hard data generated in genomics research, seek to develop a "detailed map of environmental exposures that might occur throughout a lifetime, which can be mapped onto the etiology ... of major illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease," or an "exposome." Steve Rappaport at the University of California, Berkeley, tells Scientific American that researchers "really need to think about the environment as what's going on inside the body and accept things that come from every source." In an editorial appearing in this week's Science, Rappaport and Martyn Smith, also at Berkeley, make a case for mapping the exposome; they suggest that "successful characterization of both exposomes and genomes, environmental and genetic determinants of chronic diseases can be united in high-resolution studies that examine gene-environment interactions" and, further, that "such a union might even push the nature-versus-nurture debate toward resolution."

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.