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Genetics Goes to the Dogs

Nature News this week examines an increase in the use of dogs as neurogenetics research subjects. Jonathan Flint at the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics tells Nature's David Cyranoski that searching for genes that cause psychiatric problems in humans has proven to be "hard work with slim pickings." Cyranoski says that because of their more than 200-year-history of selective inbreeding, it's "relatively easy to track down the genes responsible" in dogs. "They are the only naturally occurring models of psychiatric disorders, and perfect for genetic mapping and cloning. It's just beautiful," MIT's Guoping Feng says. According to Nature News, "excitement over dog models has been spreading" and "compulsive disorders may be among the first successes in unravelling human behavioural conditions through dogs." The National Human Genome Research Institute's Elaine Ostrander told Cyranoski that "for 10,000 years, dog has been man's best friend. ... Now, in the genomic era, dog is serving man again by helping us identify genes."

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.