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What to Do With the GWAS

In three commentaries in the New England Journal of Medicine, Children's Hospital's Joel Hirschhorn, Duke's David Goldstein, and Harvard's Peter Kraft and David Hunter discuss the complexity basis of common genetic diseases. The New York Times' Nicholas Wade characterizes the disagreements among the researchers as "whether, despite the prospect of diminishing returns, to continue with the genomewide studies, which cost many millions of dollars apiece, or switch to a new approach." Hirschhorn is optimistic. "I predict that by the 2012 ASHG meeting, genomewide association studies will have yielded important new biologic insights for at least four common diseases or polygenic traits," he writes. Goldstein is less so, suggesting that the "modest effect of common variation on most human disease" should lead researchers to instead focus on uncovering rare variants. Kraft and Hunter take the middle way and write that the risk estimates need to be refined as it's "too early in the cycle of discovery for most tests that are based on newly discovered associations to provide stable estimates of genetic risk for many diseases."

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.