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This Week in Nature: Mar 30, 2017

In this week's Nature Genetics, an international research team reports the results of a large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) of glioma, identifying new risk loci for two different forms of the disease that point to a polygenic basis of susceptibility. The scientists performed a meta-analysis of existing GWASs, as well as conducted two new GWASs, which totaled more than 12,000 cases and 18,000 controls. They found five new loci for glioblastoma (GBM) and eight loci for non-GBM tumors — findings that "substantiate that genetic susceptibility to GBM and non-GBM tumors are highly distinct, which likely reflects different etiology." GenomeWeb has more on this here.

And in Nature Plants, a group led by scientists from Wageningen University publishes a high-quality whole-genome sequence for the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa, which can survive long periods of dehydration, giving new insights into drought tolerance in angiosperms. The researchers studied changes in the plant's transcriptome during dehydration and found the induction of transcripts typically associated with desiccation tolerance in seeds and involvement of orthologs of ABI3 and ABI5, which are key regulators of seed maturation. The investigators say that their work supports the hypothesis that "vegetative desiccation tolerance arose by redirection of genetic information from desiccation-tolerant seeds."

The Scan

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.