In Nature Genetics, a multi-institute team from the UK report on the identification of common and low-frequency variants associated with severe early-onset obesity. The scientists conducted single-nucleotide polymorphism and copy number variation association analyses in more than 1,500 children with obesity and about 5,300 controls. They found four new loci associated with obesity and discovered a previously reported 43-kb deletion at a specific locus was significantly associated with the condition. They also found a significant burden of rare, single CNVs in severely obese cases.
Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, investigators from the German Cancer Research Institute publish a report describing a new method to systematically map genetic interactions in human cancer cells using combinatorial RNAi and high-throughput imaging. Through automated, single-cell phenotyping, they measured genetic interactions across a "broad spectrum" of phenotypes, including cell count, cell eccentricity, and nuclear area. They also mapped genetic interactions of epigenetic regulators in colon cancer cells, recovering known protein complexes.