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Genome Research Papers on Precision Health Monitoring, Snake Venom, Infant Gut Microbes

Investigators at Stanford University and Zhejiang University describe a "precision environmental health monitoring" strategy that includes multiomics profiling coupled with analyses of an individual's exposures, or "exposome" over time. For a pilot analysis, the team collected blood and stool samples from a 61-year-old male of European ancestry over 52 days, analyzing metabolome, proteome, microbiome, immune, and other measures in relation to chemical, biological, and environmental exposures tracked with an exposometer, a wearable device designed to help track such exposures. "[W]e found both time and location impacted the personal exposome, especially the biological components and environmental factors, and the biological and chemical exposome were highly dynamic," the authors write, noting that "pathways related to the immune, liver, and kidney systems were highly associated with the external exposome."

A University of Texas-led team explores the regulatory networks and pathways behind snake venom-related gene expression and proteomic patterns in the prairie rattlesnake. From their RNA sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing, ATAC-seq, and Hi-C chromatin interaction analyses, the researchers found co-opted vertebrate pathways linked to venom gene expression, along with related chromatin structures, enhancers, promoters, and more distant regulatory features. "Our findings provide a model for understanding how novel regulatory systems may evolve through a combination of genomic processes," they write, "including tandem duplication of genes and regulatory sequences, cis-regulatory sequence seeding by transposable elements, and diverse transcriptional regulatory proteins controlled by a co-opted regulatory cascade."

University of California, Los Angeles, researchers track microbial community members and microbial genes in developing gut microbiomes found in infants before their first birthdays. With fecal metagenomic data generated over time for more than 700 infants and their mothers, the team saw much more rapid microbial turnover in the babies' gut microbiomes than in those of their adult mothers, for example, along with evolving gut communities that appeared to be influenced by microbial transmission within families as well as microbial mutation. Together, these and other findings from the study "point to a picture of a volatile gut microbiome characterized by rapid evolutionary and ecological change in the early days of life," the authors say, noting that they also flagged similar microbial changes that "occur in parallel across infants."