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Autism Speaks Releases Updated Collection of Whole-Genome Sequence Data

The latest release of the Autism Speaks' MSSNG resource, a collection of sequenced whole genomes of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members, is presented in Cell this week. The dataset now contains 11,312 individuals including 5,100 people with ASD — more than twice what was in the previous release. It also features expanded genetic variant data, a redesigned web portal allowing the exploration of genotype and phenotype data, and integration with the Terra cloud platform, among other enhancements. Members of Autism Speaks who contributed to the resource describe using the data to comprehensively examine the roles of many types of genetic variations in ASD. They also leverage data in the Simons Simplex Collection, a collection of genetic samples from people with ASD and their families, to help uncover ASD-associated structural variants. "Our study provides a guidebook for exploring genotype-phenotype correlations in families who carry ASD-associated rare variants and serves as an entry point to the expanded studies required to dissect the etiology in the 85 [percent] of the ASD population that remain idiopathic," the researchers 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 structural 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.