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This Week in Nature: Jul 10, 2008

In early online publication, EMBL researchers have created genome-wide recombination maps of S. cerevisiae using genetic marker data. The maps detail crossovers, crossover-associated gene conversion and non-crossover gene conversion, and they are the first high-res representations of genome-wide recombination possibilities in any organism.

Also in advanced online, scientists at UCSC's Center for Molecular Biology of RNA have found hammerhead ribozymes in the 3' UTRs of rodent C-type lectin type II (Clec2) genes. This ribozyme, which regulates bone remodeling and the immune response, also exists in related genes in the rat, horse, and platypus, and in unknown genes in five other mammals, they found. "I was working on something else, but we got some preliminary data and it turned out to be a very fruitful collaboration; it’s the kind of interaction that the RNA Center is meant to stimulate,” says Lucas Horan at ThinkGene of his collaboration with the lead author Monika Martick.

A news piece looks at how best to find psychiatric risk genes when genome-wide association studies are failing to match variants with actual disease. Some, like Daniel Weinberger at the NIH, believe that a candidate gene approach is more effective, and the focus on 'intermediate phenotypes' continues to be weighed against traditional large-scale GWAS.

NIH researchers have used an RNAi screen to find that the IRF4 gene, which is normally not an oncogene, kills myeloma cells when depleted. A related News and Views writes, "What is surprising about Schaffer and colleagues' observations is that, despite its battery of oncogenic mutations, myeloma is addicted to a normal gene."


The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.