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This Week in Nature: Sep 27, 2012

In this week's Nature, an international team of researchers publish a study suggesting that monitoring microbes in the gut may help determine an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They developed and undertook a metagenome-wide association study based on deep shotgun sequencing of the gut microbial DNA from 345 Chinese individuals. They found that the natural ratio of gut microbes and pathogens in diabetes patients was unbalanced, and might be used to classify type 2 diabetes.

Over in Nature Biotechnology, German investigators from EMBL and the University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center report on a new method to improve secretome analysis, which has heretofore been hampered by technical limitations in detecting low-abundance proteins against a background of serum-containing media. The approach combines "click chemistry and pulsed stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture to selectively enrich and quantify secreted proteins." This allows cells to be studied irrespective of the complexity of the background proteins.

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.