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This Week in Nature: Oct 6, 2011

This week in Nature, the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory's Dieter Egli and his colleagues report their "development of human oocytes after genome exchange arrests at late cleavage stages in association with transcriptional abnormalities." The team says that through this process, "if the oocyte genome is not removed and the somatic cell genome is merely added, the resultant triploid cells develop to the blastocyst stage," and adds that "stem cell lines derived from these blastocysts differentiate into cell types of all three germ layers, and a pluripotent gene expression program is established on the genome derived from the somatic cell."

Elsewhere in the journal, Children's Hospital Boston's George Daley and the University of Oslo's Jan Helge Solbakk discuss the significannce of Egli et al.'s work and consider "the ethical issues surrounding the use of human oocytes in research."

Nature's Brendan Maher this week reports on the journal's survey of its readers regarding their attitudes toward personal genomics. Of 1,588 respondents, 54 percent said they'd elect to have their genomes analyzed, given the opportunity. Another 18 percent said they'd already done so. Of respondents who said they had, most — 167 respondents — indicated having submitted samples for SNP analysis, while 73 respondents said they'd had a single gene or a few genes sequenced for medical purposes. Complete results of Nature's survey are available, here.

In a paper published online in advance this week, an international team led by investigators at the US National Cancer Institute shows that "CTCF-promoted RNA polymerase II pausing links DNA methylation to splicing." Moreover, the NCI-led team presents what it calls a "mechanistic basis for developmental regulation of splicing outcome through heritable epigenetic marks."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.