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This Week in Science: Oct 5, 2012

In Science this week, neuroscientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center propose a model of the factor influencing neurogenesis, dubbed the neurogenic interactome, which they say will help better understand the role of neuron creation on mood and depression. Adult-generated hippocampal neurons are required for mood control and antidepressant efficacy, but "conflicting findings from preclinical research—involving stress, depression, and neurogenesis — highlight the complexity of considering neurogenesis as a road to remission from depression." Through this new interactome, researchers can weigh system-wide, regional, and local regulation of neurons in order to help "clarify the role of neurogenesis in the etiology and treatment of depression."

Ten years after the publication of the genome sequences of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the full impact of these landmark events for malaria control have yet to be felt, according to two epidemiologists writing in Science. Although mortality from the disease has fallen in the past decade, exact numbers are difficult to come by, and challenges to combating malaria persist. Overall, the genome projects have made "some contribution to the development of new malaria tools, such as new vaccine candidates, but a decade is probably too short a period for the research to be translated into success in the field."

In Science Translational Medicine, a multi-institute team of researchers reports on a new whole-genome sequencing technology capable of diagnosing genetic disorders in intensive care unit newborns in just two days. The technique, called symptom- and sign-assisted genome analysis, or SSAGA, joins whole-genome sequencing with automated bioinformatic analysis to identify a disorder within 50 hours. Monogenic diseases are common causes of neonatal morbidity and mortality, and clinical testing for most of these conditions is largely unavailable. Additionally, the course of these diseases is rapid, making quick diagnosis critical to clinical decision making. SSAGA, however, can "potentially broaden and foreshorten differential diagnosis, resulting in fewer empirical treatments and faster progression to genetic and prognostic counseling." Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the study here.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.