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This Week in PLoS: Sep 1, 2009

Stanford's Keyan Salari writes in PLoS Medicine that clinician training needs to change so that physicians are prepared to practice in personalized medicine and handle results from consumer genetic tests. "Fundamental training in genetics and genomics, along with the attendant medical, legal, ethical, and psychosocial issues, should fall within the purview of medical school education. Moreover, such education should continue longitudinally throughout clinical training, including residency, fellowship, and continuing medical education programs, to reinforce concepts and target physicians who have already completed their clinical training," Salari writes.

A perspective in PLoS Computational Biology discusses bioinformatics activities in Malaysia that began in the 1990s. First spurred by academic and private initiatives, bioinformatics in Malaysia is now also encouraged by government programs. To develop the field, attention is being paid to incorporate Malaysia's biodiversity, give tax incentives to companies, and provide education.

Researchers led by Wendy Thomas developed a computational method to predict the structure of a protein's allosteric state by knowing another state and to provide a map of the free energy landscape of the allosteric transition. She and her colleagues report that by using Rosetta high-resolution structure prediction methodology, they "can reproduce conformational transitions for three proteins in which significant allosteric structural changes occur, particularly when provided information on which regions change the most in the allosteric transition." This work appears in PLoS Computational Biology.

In PLoS Genetics, Stephanie London and her colleagues report on a genome-wide association study of asthma in Mexican children. Though no SNP met genome-wide significance in their study of nearly 500 case-parent trios, the researchers did identify a candidate region, chromosome 9q21.31. Many SNPs with low, but not significant, p-values were found in that region, upstream of the TLE4 gene. "This region may underlie ethnic differences in childhood asthma, and emphasizes the presence of multiple genetic risk factors in the complex mechanism leading to childhood asthma," the researchers write.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.