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Atopic Dermatitis Microbes Profiled by Sequencing in Pediatric Patients

In a paper appearing in Cell Host & Microbe, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other centers in the US, Mexico, and Germany describe Staphylococcus aureus adaptations found in nearly two dozen children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Using samples from atopic dermatitis-affected and -unaffected skin sites from 23 children, the investigators sequenced 1,499 S. aureus genomes, identifying stable lineages in individual children, coupled with relatively rapid de novo mutation S. aureus lineage sweeps involving multiple body sites in a given patient. In the process, they also saw several examples atopic dermatitis-associated S. aureus microbes carrying capD gene mutations that interfered with the production of a capsule that usually surrounds the bacterial cell wall — a pattern that was overrepresented in atopic dermatitis cases in a subsequent analysis. "Together, our results highlight the potential of de novo mutations for altering bacterial competitiveness in microbiomes, highlight the power of mutation tracking for identifying new potential therapeutic directions, and suggest that whole-genome resolution may be required for predicting the impact of microbial stains on complex diseases," they write.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.