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Chromosomes May Have Both Compact Organization, Fast Subdiffusive Dynamics

Chromosomes exhibit both compact globular organization and fast subdiffusive dynamics, according to a new study appearing in Science. In it, researchers from the US, Austria, and elsewhere conducted live imaging of enhancer-promoter pairs in developing flies and examined their transcriptional output, while also varying the physical genomic separation of the enhancer-promoter pairs. They found that the chromosomal interactions reflected a combination of two polymer models, the Rouse model that predicts a loose structure and fast, random interactions between gene regions and the fractal globule model that predicts a tighter structure and slower interactions. According to the researchers, their findings suggest that the interactions of DNA regions may be less dependent on genomic distance than currently expected. "If such a system is in a fluid and dynamic state all the time, long-distance communication is much better than we might have thought," David Brückner, postdoctoral researcher and NOMIS fellow at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, says in a statement.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.