Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Genome Study Highlights Evolutionary Factors Behind Human Cytomegalovirus Diversity

Researchers at the University College London, the University of Montreal, and the Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children National Health Service Foundation Trust take a look at the enhanced genome diversity found in the human cytomegalovirus (CMV) herpesvirus in a paper appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By bringing together available whole-genome sequences for 259 CMV isolates from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia — including sequences for dozens of CMV strains found in immunocompromised individuals — the team tracked down a set of 74 multiallelic regions in the CMV genome that were marked by some two to eight variable alleles apiece. When they considered factors affecting the conserved and variable portions of the genome overall, meanwhile, the authors saw signs of population structure that reflected geography over much of the genome, though a few dozen genome regions with roles in immunomodulation or other core functions were free from this geographic influence — a pattern they attributed to potential balancing selection. "We demonstrate that CMV diversity is influenced by two distinct evolutionary forces," they write, adding that "[t]hese insights into CMV evolution are likely to provide insights into virus biology and inform the development of drugs and global vaccines."

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.