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This Week in Nature: Dec 1, 2016

In this week's Nature Communications, a group of British researchers publishes a study examining epigenetic contributors to the development of type 1 diabetes to better understand environmental influencers of the disease. The team studied a group of identical twins where one had type I diabetes and one did not, identifying a number of changes in the epigenome of the diabetics including ones associated with the regulation of immune cell function. While the finding are promising, the investigators note that further research is needed to clarify the involvement of these epigenetic changes in diabetes.

In Nature Methods, a multi-institute team reports on the development of novoBreak, a genome-wide local assembly algorithm for the detection of somatic and germline structural variation breakpoints in whole-genome sequencing data. In the investigators' tests, the algorithm consistently outperformed existing algorithms on real cancer genome data and on synthetic tumors, primarily because it was more effective at using reads spanning breakpoints, they say. 

And in Nature Biotechnology, a group from the University of Luxembourg presents a new resource of genome-scale metabolic reconstructions semi-automatically generated for 773 human gut bacteria. Called AGORA — short for assembly of gut organisms through reconstruction and analysis — the resource may prove useful by providing a starting point for the generation of high-quality, manually curated metabolic reconstructions, the team notes.