A new RNA editing approach that uses engineered RNAs to recruit endogenous ADAR enzymes is both precise and efficient, and may prove useful for both clinical and research applications, according to a new study in Nature Biotechnology. The technique, called leveraging endogenous ADAR for programmable editing of RNA, or LEAPER, uses short engineered ADAR-recruiting RNAs to recruit native ADAR1 or ADAR2 enzymes to change a specific adenosine to inosine. When delivered by a plasmid or viral vector, or as a synthetic oligonucleotide, LEAPER achieves editing efficiencies of up to 80 percent, with few global off-target effects and limited editing of non-target adenosines in the target region, the study's authors write. Showing the potential of LEAPER to treat a monogenic disease, the method was used to restore the activity of an enzyme that is deficient in Hurler syndrome in patient-derived fibroblasts.
A high-quality draft genome assembly of Musa balbisiana published in Nature Plants this week reveals new details about the evolution and functional of this wild-type species of Southeast Asian banana. The majority of edible cultivated bananas originated from intraspecific or interspecific hybridization between wild diploid Musa acuminata (A-genome) and M. balbisiana (B-genome) species. The new assembly reveals that a recent divergence of the two species occurred after lineage-specific whole-genome duplication, and that the B-genome may be more sensitive to the fractionation process compared to the A-genome. Other insights include a significant pathway-level expansion of gene families related to ethylene biosynthesis and starch metabolism, as well as wide homologue expression dominance, in the B-subgenome of cultivated allotriploid bananas. "The findings of this study provide greater context for understanding fruit biology and aid the development of tools for breeding optimal banana cultivars," the study's authors write.
A new genome-wide association study appearing in Nature Genetics identifies eight risk loci associated with anorexia nervosa, while also uncovering a genetic link between the disorder and other psychiatric conditions. In the study, researchers analyzed the genomes of nearly 17,000 anorexia nervosa patients and more than 55,000 controls using data from the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative and the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. In addition to the eight genetic markers, they find that anorexia nervosa has significant genetic correlations with certain psychiatric disorders and physical activity, as well as metabolic, lipid, and anthropometric traits independent of the effects of common variants associated with body-mass index. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.