In this week's Science, a team led by Broad Institute scientists report on the identification of genetic mutations that play a role in how different people's immune systems respond to infection. They analyzed the expression of T cells from 348 healthy individuals of African, Asian, and European descent and identified differences in the activation of cytokines between individuals of different ancestry. They also found 39 mutations involved in differential immune responses and map one to the control of IL2RA, a gene associated with autoimmunity. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.
And in Science Translational Medicine, a group from the National Institutes of Health discuss emerging viral diseases and how advances in biomedical research technologies can help address such threats. Among the most important new tools available are ones for rapid genomic sequencing, which can be used to identify ways to fight against pathogens and diagnose infection at the point of care. Meanwhile, improvements in PCR make the technology especially useful in situations of diagnostic uncertainty, an issue being faced during the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.