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This Week in Nature: Apr 26, 2013

In Nature Biotechnology this week, a team led by Columbia University researchers report on the analysis of tumor-induced changes in mRNA expression of human metabolic genes in diverse cancer types, finding that the alterations are heterogeneous across different tumor types. Their analysis also suggests that expression changes of some metabolic genes may "enhance or mimic the effects of recurrent mutations in tumors," and that the various metabolic isoenzymes found to show tumor-specific changes hold promise as therapeutics targets.

Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, a group of international investigators describe a method, built around the concept of expression reversal of gene pairs, for identifying the determinants of cell fate. The team curated human expression data comprising 166 cell types and 2,602 transcription-regulating genes to develop the method, which enabled them to organize the cell types into their ontogenic lineage relationships. They used the approach to find genes in regulatory circuits that control neuronal fate, pluripotency, and blood cell differentiation.