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Here's Hoping for Lean Microbes

Two papers out of Jeff Gordon's Washington University lab published in today's issue of Nature provide a link between the microbial populations in the gut and the obesity of the host. According to the editor's summary of these metabolic papers:

A study of the abundance of the two dominant groups of bacteria in the gut of obese individuals shows that increased numbers of Bacteroidetes bacteria correlate with weight loss. And a study of genetically obese mice reveals that their gut microbial community has a greater capacity for harvesting energy than that of lean littermates: the trait is transmissible by transplanting the community into germ-free mice. This work suggests that the gut microbiome associated with obesity might be a biomarker and possibly a therapeutic target.

On a personal note, the editors of Genome Technology send a great big thanks to Jeff for giving us another sound reason to shirk our exercise program.


The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.