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This Week in Nature: Aug 9, 2013

In Nature this week, two National Institutes of Health officials discuss the agency’s agreement with the family of Henrietta Lacks, who unwittingly became the source for the HeLa cell line, to gain access to the cells’ genomic data. Sequence data will be placed in a controlled-access database, and researchers will be required apply to the NIH to use it in a specific study. They must also agree to terms of use defined by a panel, which will include members of the Lacks family. All researchers who use or generate full genomic data from HeLa cells will be asked to acknowledge in their publications the contribution of Henrietta Lacks and her family. The agreement comes alongside the publication of a study from a University of Washington team reporting the high-resolution genome sequence of the CCL-2 HeLa cancer cell line. The researchers found a highly stable genome and characterized a specific chromosomal rearrangement that is likely to have been the initial oncogenic event that led to the cervical cancer that killed Lacks.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this here.

Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, a Columbia University group report on newly discovered genetic drivers of glioblastomas. Using a computational platform to identify recurrent genetic changes in a large collection of glioblastoma samples, the team found several genes targeted by recurrent alterations in the cancer and showed that some of these altered genes influence the growth properties of glioma cells.