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This Week in Genome Research: Feb 8, 2012

Investigators at the US National Institutes of Health this week show that temporal shifts in the skin microbiome are associated with atopic dermatitis disease flares and treatment. Among others, the NIH team shows that in atopic dermatitis disease state, "the proportion of Staphylococcus sequences, particularly S. aureus, was greater during disease flares than at baseline or post-treatment and correlated with worsened disease severity." In addition, "representation of the skin commensal S. epidermidis also significantly increased during flares," the team found.

The Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy's Tim Reddy and his colleagues report data they generated to assess the genome-wide differential allelic occupancy of 24 sequence-specific transcription factors in a human lymphoblastoid cell line. Reddy et al. found that "overall, 5 percent of human TF [transcription factor] binding sites have an allelic imbalance in occupancy," they write in a Genome Research paper published online in advance this week.

In another advance access paper, investigators at the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service report their use of a read-depth approach based on next-gen sequencing to assess genome-wide copy-number differences among five taurine and one indicine cattle. The USDA-ARS team reports in Genome Research the "first individualized cattle CNV and segmental duplication maps and genome-wide gene copy number estimates," which it says will "enable future CNV studies into highly duplicated regions in the cattle genome."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.