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This Week in Nature: Sep 15, 2011

In a paper published online in advance this week in Nature, investigators at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and elsewhere report genome sequences for 17 inbred strains of lab mice, in which they identified "almost 10-times more variants than previously known." The authors suggest that "these sequences provide a starting point for a new era in the functional analysis of a key model organism." Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study.

Elsewhere in Nature's advance online publication, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics report their "sequence-based characterization of structural variation in the mouse genome." By combining experimental and automated analyses, the team found 711,920 structural variants at 281,243 sites in 13 classic and four wild-derived inbred mouse strains' genomes. Again, see GenomeWeb Daily News for more on this study.

Investigators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and elsewhere this week report in Nature on their Sc2.0 synthetic yeast genome project, in which they've developed "the first partially synthetic eukaryotic chromosomes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome synIXR, and semi-synVIL." Further, the team defines three design principles for a synthetic genome:

First, it should result in a (near) wild-type phenotype and fitness; second, it should lack destabilizing elements such as tRNA genes or transposons; and third, it should have genetic flexibility to facilitate future studies.

The Johns Hopkins-led team also presents an inducible evolution system â€" which it has dubbed SCRaMbLE, for synthetic chromosome rearrangement and modification by loxP-mediated evolution â€" and demonstrates its utility "as a novel method of combinatorial mutagenesis, capable of generating complex genotypes and a broad variety of phenotypes."

This week in Nature, the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies reports its generation of a "genetic risk score based on 29 genome-wide significant variants was associated with hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease, but not kidney disease or kidney function." GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study as well.

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.