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This Week in Genome Biology: Dec 30, 2009

In Genome Biology online this week, an American team used genotyping — along with statistical and computational approaches — to look at African ancestry admixture patterns in 230 African Americans from the Human Genome Diversity Panel or participating in the ADVANCE study and 38 European Americans from ADVANCE. The researchers reported that African Americans had admixed African ancestry — mainly from West and West-Central Africa. And, they say, "the genetic architecture of African Americans is distinct from Africans, and the greatest source of potential genetic stratification bias in case control studies of African Americans derives from the proportion of European ancestry."

University of Freiburg researcher Stefan Rensing and his co-workers reviewed a group of eukaryotic homeobox-containing transcription factor genes found specifically in plants. The team touched on gene expression, functional, and phylogenetic studies of the WUS homeobox, or WOX genes, discussing the role of these genes in a range of important plant developmental processes and highlighting likely areas of future research on the WOX protein family.

Meanwhile, a review by Czech and Belgian researchers focused on another plant protein family: the PIN-FORMED or PIN family of auxin transporters, which act as secondary transporters in multicellular plants to help oust the signaling molecule from cells and regulate auxin distribution. That, in turn, impacts a slew of developmental processes, they explained.

And a meeting report by a group of researchers from Paris and Baltimore provided information about the goings-on at the EMBO Comparative Genomics of Eukaryotic Microorganisms meeting, held in Spain in mid-October. "New technology, such as high-throughput sequencing now allows less well studied eukaryotic microbes to come into the limelight," they write, "providing some fascinating glimpses into the eukaryotic world that lies outside multicellular plants and animals."

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.