Skip to main content

This Week in Nature : Jul 18, 2013

In this week’s Nature, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported on the silencing of a third copy of chromosome 21 that causes Down’s syndrome in a cell culture model of the disorder, marking a step forward towards “chromosome therapy.” The scientists used zinc finger nucleases to insert an inducible transgene version of a gene called XIST into cultured stem cells from Down’s syndrome patients. “The XIST non-coding RNA coats chromosome 21 and triggers stable heterochromatin modifications, chromosome-wide transcriptional silencing, and DNA methylation,” effectively silencing genes on the chromosome and correcting the unusual pattern of cell growth and differentiation seen in cells derived from patients.

In Nature Genetics, a team from the University of Zurich published the draft genome of the fungal pathogen wheat powdery mildew, or Blumeria graminis forma specialis tritici, as well as the resequencing of three additional isolates and a comparative analysis with the barley powdery mildew genome. The researchers identified more than 600 candidate effector genes, many showing evidence of positive selection. Characterization of genetic diversity patterns suggested that mildew genomes are “mosaics of ancient haplogroups that existed before wheat domestication,” and that the adaptation of the pathogen to new host species was “based on a diverse haplotype pool that provided great genetic potential for pathogen variation.”

The Scan

Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report criticizes the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.

Pushed a Bit Later

Novavax has pushed back its timeline for filing for authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, according to Bloomberg.

AMA Announces Anti-Racism Effort

The Associated Press reports that the American Medical Association has released a plan to address systemic racism in healthcare.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on miRMaster 2.0, MutationTaster2021, LipidSuite

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: tool to examine small non-coding RNAs, approach to predict ramifications of DNA variants, and more.