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Public Good Genomics

Genomics is moving beyond single-gene disorders into the realm of infectious and non-infectious diseases to improve public health, writes Jane Parry at The Guardian Professional. "Genomics is absolutely changing the way we deal with public health issues and as the technology involves gets a lot cheaper, there will be a massive shift in diagnostics towards molecular technology," Hilary Burton, the director of PHG Foundation, tells Parry.

One disease where genomics has made headway, Parry adds, is in type 2 diabetes. Researchers are searching for genetic markers for the disease that are applicable to different ethnic populations. Further, a team in Hong Kong has uncovered four markers associated with increased risk of renal disease in diabetes patients, and it is now developing a panel to stratify diabetes patients based on the risk markers they have, she writes.

Parry notes, though, that public health genomic efforts also raise ethical questions, such as what to do with incidental findings and confidentiality concerns as well as how to implement it in low-income countries.

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.