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The Link Between Misery and Death

Researchers at UCLA have discovered what they call a biochemical link between misery and death, and a genetic variation in some people that seems to break that link, rendering them more biologically resilient in the face of adversity.
The researchers analyzed transcription factor binding sequences in a gene called IL6, which controls immune response, and can serve as a kind of "fertilizer" for cardiovascular disease and some kinds of cancer. They were able to trace a biochemical pathway through which certain life circumstances can activate the IL6 gene, identified the specific genetic sequence in the gene that serves as a target of the signaling pathway, and the well-known genetic variation that can block the path and disconnect IL6 responses from the effects of stress. People with the most common type of the IL6 gene showed an increased risk of death for about 11 years after being exposed to a stressful event; however, people with the variant gene appeared immune and showed no increased mortality risk in the face of the same adversities. The findings were reported in the current online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.