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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

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.