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This Week in Nature: Sep 28, 2017

In Nature this week, a group of European researchers describe the creation of a reversible haploid mouse embryonic stem cell biobank for functional genomics. Using genome-saturated mutagenesis, the team constructed Haplobank — a biobank of more than 100,000 individual haploid mouse embryonic stem (mES) cell lines targeting 16,970 genes with genetically barcoded conditional and reversible mutations. They used Haplobank in reverse genetic screens to investigate the temporal resolution of essential genes in mES cells, as well as to identify novel genes that control sprouting angiogenesis and lineage specification of blood vessels. The resource was also used in a genome-wide forward screen, which identified a host factor required for cytotoxicity by rhinoviruses.

And in Nature Genetics, scientists from Decode Genetics report a new computational tool for population-scale genotyping. Called Graphtyper, the publicly available novel algorithm and software enables the discovery and genotyping of sequence variants by realigning short-read sequence data to a pangenome, a variation-aware graph structure that encodes sequence variation within a population by representing possible haplotypes as graph paths. Graphtyper is fast, highly scalable, and provides sensitive and accurate genotype calls, the researchers say.

The Scan

Polygenic Risk Score to Predict Preeclampsia, Gestational Hypertension in Pregnant Women

Researchers in Nature Medicine provide new mechanistic insights into the development of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which may help develop therapeutics.

New Oral Nanomedicine Strategy Targets Gut-Brain Axis to Treat IBD

A new paper in Science Advances describes a platform to design polyphenol-armored oral medicines that are effective at treating inflammatory bowel disease.

Phylogenetic Data Enables New Floristic Map

Researchers in Nature Communications use angiosperm phylogenetic data to refine the floristic regions of the world.

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.