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A New Update

A new assembly of the human genome is out. The NCBI Insights blog notes that this iteration, GRCh38, is the first major release in four years.

Methagora, Nature Methods' blog, adds that this build contains fewer gaps — the previous build, GRCh37, had 357 gaps. While GRCh38 still has gaps, Methagora notes it has spanned a couple of notable ones, such as ones associated with the MRC1 locus and with the CCL3L1/CCL4L1 genes.

This new version is also the first to include sequence information about centromeres, which are notoriously tricky spots to sequence as they are highly repetitive. The centromere sequence information included is a model of an average centromere.

"This will be a major boon to evolutionary studies of human populations and to the many groups doing mechanistic work on human centromeres and kinetochores," says Stanford University's Aaron Straight tells Methagora. "Finally, now we can stop saying 'mind the gap'."

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.