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This Week in Nature: May 18, 2017

In this week's Nature Genetics, a team led by scientists from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports the discovery of a gene involved in most childhood solid tumors, including lethal rhabdoid tumors. Using assembly-based whole-genome DNA sequencing, the scientists identified the gene piggyBac transposable element derived 5, or PGBD5, as encoding an active DNA transposase expressed in these kinds of tumors. Further analysis pointed to the gene as an oncogenic mutator and a likely mechanism for site-specific DNA rearrangements in childhood and adult solid tumors.

And in Nature Biotechnology, a group of Swiss researchers reports a new method for rapid gene cloning in cereal crops, whose large repeat-rich genomes complicate the cloning of individual genes. Called targeted chromosome-based cloning via long-range assembly, or TACCA, the approach combines lossless genome-complexity reduction via chromosome flow sorting with Chicago long-range linkage to assemble complex genomes. The researchers used the technique to produce a high-quality de novo chromosome assembly of a specific wheat line in four months, which they then used to clone a gene involved in resistance to a pathogenic fungus

The Scan

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.

Active Lifestyle Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in People at High Genetic Risk

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that an active lifestyle goes a long way in type 2 diabetes prevention.

Beneficial, Harmful Effects of Introgression Between Wild and Domesticated European Grapes

A paper in PNAS shows that European wild grapevines were an important resource for improving the flavor of cultivated wine grapes.

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.