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This Week in Nature: Jun 20, 2014

In Nature this week, researchers from Denmark report the discovery of a genetic variant that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people from Greenland, who stem from a small founder population and have a much higher rate of the disease than other populations. The mutation, which causes deterioration of the regulation of glucose levels after eating, is present in 17 percent of the study population, and its impact is far greater than other mutations that have previously been identified as boosting diabetes risk. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

In Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers reports on the genome sequences of three species of parasitic whipworm, providing new information that could led to new treatments for whipworm infection and inflammatory bowel disease. One team focused on the human parasite, Trichuris trichura, and the mouse parasite, Trichuris muris, and found a number of genes that may be involved in trichuriasis. They also identified 29 genes that are essential to the worm and can be targeted by existing drugs. Another research group studied Trichuris suis, which infects pigs. It is known that infecting humans with the eggs of pig whipworm can treat IBD by suppressing the overactive human immune system, and the investigators pinpointed several genes involved in immune control. GWDN also covers these studies here.