Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Science: Dec 22, 2012

In this week's Science, a team of researchers led by investigators from the University of Copenhagen report on a genomic analysis of two species of bats, the only mammals capable of sustained flight and hosts for highly pathogenic viruses. Combining whole-genome sequencing and comparative analyses of the fruit bat Pteropus alecto and insectivorous Myotis davidii , the scientists discovered an unexpected concentration of positively selected genes in the DNA damage checkpoint and nuclear factor-κB pathways, which may have helped the animals develop the ability to fly. They also pinpointed immune system-related genes that have been lost or are under selection, giving clues as to why bats may harbor disease.

Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Also in Science, research groups led by Harvard University investigators publish the results of two genome sequencing studies conducted on individual cells, which can be used to uncover cell-to-cell differences that may provide new insights into biological processes. The scientists used a new amplification method — called multiple annealing and looping-based amplification cycles, or MALBAC — and in one study achieved 93 percent genome coverage for a single human cell, allowing for the detection of small mutations. In the other, 99 sperm cells from a single individual were sequenced to reveal that recombination events tend to occur away from transcription site starts.

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.