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Nature Papers Present Framework for Convolutional Neural Networks for Genomics, Single-Cell Atlas of Brain Development

A Princeton University research team reports in Nature Machine Intelligence this week a new framework to facilitate the use of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in genomics. Artificial neural networks such as CNNs represent powerful tools for analyzing biological sequences, but the need to tune network architectures, which is time-consuming and requires machine learning expertise, limits their application. To address this, the scientists developed Automated Modelling for Biological Evidence-based Research, or AMBER, which automates the design and application of optimal CNNs for genomic sequences through the state-of-the-art neural architecture search. Its developers show that AMBER-designed models outperform equivalent non-neural architecture search models, even published ones designed by experts, and demonstrate it using established benchmarks.

A single-cell atlas of early-stage human brain development is published in Nature Neuroscience this week, providing insights into the first trimester of human brain development and the subpopulations of progenitor cells that form the basis for creating the human cortex. To build the atlas, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco performed single-cell RNA sequencing across regions of the developing human brain including the telencephalon, diencephalon, midbrain, hindbrain, and cerebellum. They uncovered progenitor populations located near the telencephalon, suggesting more heterogeneity than previously known. A comparison of human and mouse progenitor populations at similar developmental timepoints, meanwhile, revealed two progenitor clusters that are enriched in the early stages of human cortical development.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.