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This Week in Nature: Feb 14, 2013

In this week's Nature Genetics, a multi-institute team reports on the outcome of a genome-wide meta-analysis of more than 40,000 people of Western and Asian backgrounds, which revealed new loci for the eye disorders refractive error and myopia. The new loci include candidate genes with functions in neurotransmission, ion transport, retinoic acid metabolism, extracellular matrix remodeling, and eye development. The researchers also confirmed previously reported associations between two other genes. The results provide new information about the genetic basis of these common eye conditions.

Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, describes a new approach for generating genetic interaction, or GI, maps in mammalian cells by using the gene-silencing technology RNA interference. They used RNAi to knock down pairs of genes from a group of about 11,000 genes in mouse fibroblasts, focusing on 130 factors involved in chromatin regulation to create their map. "Comparison of the GI and protein-protein interaction data revealed that pairs of genes exhibiting positive GIs and/or similar genetic profiles were predictive of the corresponding proteins being physically associated," the authors write. By integrating the two types of data, they created a functional map of chromatin complexes in the fibroblasts, uncovering a key player in the mammalian chromatin landscape.