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This Week in Science: Nov 6, 2009

In early online publication in Science this week, scientists from Complete Genomics, Harvard Medical School, and Washington University have used the company's nanoarray technology to sequence three human genomes. The process generated an average, they say, of 45- to 87-fold coverage and 3.2 to 4.5 million variants per genome. An article at GenomeWeb Daily News details their findings.

In other work, scientists led in part by those at the Broad Institute and of the Horse Genome Project report a draft sequence of the domestic horse, Equus caballus. Interestingly, they found that chromosome 11 has an evolutionary new centromere "devoid of centromeric satellite DNA, suggesting that centromeric function may arise before satellite repeat accumulation," they say. The work has been ongoing for a decade, says a story at GWDN, and even The Economist is excited that the horse has finally gotten its turn to be sequenced.

Scientists at INSERM in Paris have helped lead work that used a lentiviral vector introduced into stem cells to slow the progression of a fatal brain disorder called X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. In two patients without matched bone marrow donors, they introduced a wild-type version of the ALD gene into their hematopoietic stem cells and then put the cells back into the patients. They found that they could detect gene expression in the boys' blood cells two years later and both showed improvement and a slow in disease progression. A perspective, a Wired story, and an article in the New York Times all add insight.

In a metagenomic study, Spanish scientists have analyzed the virome of an Antarctic lake viral community and found an "unexpected genetic richness." The community of viruses had a large proportion of never-indentified single-stranded viruses and that during ice melt, the community shifted from single-stranded to double-stranded DNA viruses, "possibly reflecting a seasonal shift in host organisms," they say in the abstract.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.