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This Week in Science: Jun 1, 2012

Researchers at the University of York, along with their collaborators at GlaxoSmithKline, present a transcriptomic analysis of noscapine — "an antitumor alkaloid from opium poppy that binds tubulin, arrests metaphase, and induces apoptosis in dividing human cells," they write in a paper published online in advance this week in Science. In its analysis, the team uncovered the "expression of 10 genes encoding five distinct enzyme classes in a high noscapine-producing poppy variety, HN1."

Radoje Drmanac, founder and CSO at Complete Genomics, calls whole-genome sequencing "the ultimate genetic test" in this week's Science. "Instead of handling different types of partial data sets or making decisions without genetic data, once comprehensive and ultimate genetic information provided by WGS [whole-genome sequencing] is broadly accepted, many health-related industries can standardize their approaches around WGS data," Drmanac says.

In a separate, but related, article in this week's issue, the University of British Columbia's Liam Brunham and Michael Hayden say that while "WGS has been used with great effect in specific settings to clarify molecular diagnosis and even to guide therapy," it is not yet ready for primetime. "We simply do not have sufficient numbers of trained individuals to meaningfully translate these results," Brunham and Hayden say. "The exponential advances in sequencing technology have exposed major obstacles to personalized medicine on any large scale."

Over in Science Translational Medicine, a team led by investigators at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute presents TAm-seq, a method for tagged-amplicon deep sequencing, which it applied to identify TP53 mutations in circulating DNA from 46 plasma samples from advanced ovarian cancer patients. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.