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Petri People

What better way to study a disease than by looking at cells from a patient? Researchers are using induced pluripotent stem cell technology to generate cells from patients with Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and Down syndrome, among others, Technology Review's Emily Singer reports. "By differentiating these cells into the cell type affected in the disease, scientists can search for molecular missteps unique to these cells," Singer says. "The findings are already beginning to shed light on these diseases and are being used as a tool to test new treatments." Among these experiments, Gabsang Lee and Lorenz Studer created stem cells from patients with familial dysautonomia and found that the cells didn't differentiate into neurons as easily as cells from healthy people. Further, researchers from the Dolmetsch Lab at Stanford University generated neurons from a patient with Timothy syndrome — a rare disorder that affects the heart and brain — and found that the cells make too much of a certain enzyme, leading to a treatment to block the excess, Singer says.

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.