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Move Aside, Genome … It’s the Interactome’s Time to Shine

In the genetics portion of its latest series, “50 Ideas that Could Change Science,” New Scientist says that after the genome, it’s the interactome and phenome that will take genetics to the next level. If genomics is to reach its full potential, then researchers must complete the 1000 Genomes Project, New Scientist says. And palaeogenetics is also important, in that it allows us to see how our DNA has evolved. But interactomes are really the way forward for thinking about human health and improving drug discovery, says Harvard Medical School’s Marc Vidal. Generating and analyzing these maps — which consist of the detailed interactions between proteins, RNA, and genes — will serve as “scaffolds for newly sophisticated models of how cells operate,” Vidal says. And even more important, New Scientist says, could be understanding the phenome, “the sum total of all traits, from genes to behaviour, that make up a living thing.” The complexity of such a project perhaps explains why no one has taken it on yet, New Scientist adds, but there are smaller projects like the Mouse Phenome Database, that have begun.

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.