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This Week in Nature : Oct 20, 2011

Researchers in France this week identify a germline missense substitution in MITF, Mi-E318K, that "occurred at a significantly higher frequency" in patients affected with melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, or both, compared with controls. "Overall, Mi-E318K carriers had a higher than fivefold increased risk of developing melanoma, RCC or both cancers," the authors write in a paper published online in advance in Nature.

In another Nature advance online publication, Stanford University's Eric Greer and his colleagues discuss "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans." Speaking of the H3K4me3 methylation complex, Greer et al. say that "manipulation of specific chromatin modifiers only in parents can induce an epigenetic memory of longevity in descendants."

The University of Lausanne's Henrik Kaessmann and his colleagues report their "sequencing of polyadenylated RNA from six organs across ten species that represent all major mammalian lineages (placentals, marsupials and monotremes) and birds (the evolutionary outgroup), with the goal of understanding the dynamics of mammalian transcriptome evolution." Overall, Kaessmann et al. report having found that the "rate of gene expression evolution varies among organs, lineages and chromosomes, owing to differences in selective pressures: transcriptome change was slow in nervous tissues and rapid in testes, slower in rodents than in apes and monotremes, and rapid for the X chromosome right after its formation."

Over in Nature Reviews Cardiology, Duke University's Tariq Ahmad, Deepak Voora, and Richard Becker say that "until favorable, scientifically derived data are available, routine genetic testing for platelet responsiveness cannot be recommended for clinical decision-making." While the authors acknowledge data that show a robust "association between loss-of-function alleles of the CYP2C19 gene and adverse outcomes among high-risk patients treated with clopidogrel," they say that further trials are needed "to support a change in practice towards pharmacogenetic-based selection of antiplatelet therapy."

The Scan

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.

Study Highlights Pitfall of Large Gene Panels in Clinical Genomic Analysis

An analysis in Genetics in Medicine finds that as gene panels get larger, there is an increased chance of uncovering benign candidate variants.

Single-Cell Atlas of Drosophila Embryogenesis

A new paper in Science presents a single-cell atlas of fruit fly embryonic development over time.

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

Researchers uncovered a combination phage therapy that targets Klebsiella pneumonia strains among individuals experiencing inflammatory bowel disease flare ups, as they report in Cell.