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Gene Variation and Risk of Acquiring HIV

A paper in Cell Host & Microbe reports that HIV-1 attaches to the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines found on the surface of red blood cells to enter those cells. The DARC-negative genotype, found in most African people and many people of African decent, confers resistance to Plasmodium vivax malaria, but also gives a 40 percent increase in the odds of acquiring HIV-1, potentially explaining the disproportionate spread of the disease in Africans and African-Americans. Though more susceptible to the disease, people with this variation have a slower progression of HIV. In the Los Angeles Times, the senior author, Sunil Ahuja, cautions that social factors such as poverty, a lack of healthcare, and sexual behavior, probably play more of a role in HIV infection.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.