Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

And Then for All

The US National Institutes of Health is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop gene-based treatments for sickle cell disease and HIV for sub-Saharan Africa, as Francis Collins, the NIH director, writes at Forbes magazine.

Rather than adapt therapies developed in high-resource environments for use in sub-Saharan African locations that are more strapped for resources — an approach that Collins says has generally been difficult — this partnership will start with a focus on affordability and accessibility and will work with patient advocates and researchers in Africa. He notes that current gene-therapy approaches require bone marrow ablation and often an intense hospital stay, which might not be practical in some parts of the world like sub-Saharan Africa in addition to being expensive.

But if they can figure out a way to do this more affordably, it would help not only populations in sub-Saharan Africa, but also other parts of the world, including the US. "If the new one-stop, gene-based approaches prove as safe and effective as higher-tech systems, who wouldn't choose the more convenient, less costly option?" Collins writes.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.