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This Week in Nature: Apr 5, 2018

In this week's Nature, a team led by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences publishes a study implicating bats as the source of a pig virus that killed more than 24,000 pigs in China last year, highlighting the importance of monitoring infections in bats to prevent and control livestock outbreaks. The researchers identified a new coronavirus — called SADS-CoV — as responsible for the Swine Acute Diarrhoea Syndrome that affected the pigs at four farms in Guangdong Province. Notably, the SADS-CoV genome was found to be 98 percent identical to a coronavirus isolated in horseshoe bats — known reservoirs for SARS-related coronaviruses — from Guangdong between 2013 and 2016. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.

And in Nature Genetics, a group of University of California, San Diego, and Stanford University investigators describes a transcriptional network in tumors that connects noncoding mutations with widespread gene expression changes. The investigators performed an integrative analysis of 930 tumor whole genomes and matched transcriptomes, and uncovered a network of 193 noncoding loci in which mutations disrupt target gene expression. These so-called somatic eQTLs — or expression quantitative trait loci — are frequently mutated in specific cancer tissues, and most of them were validated in an independent tumor cohort. The authors note that the somatic eQTL network is disrupted in 88 percent of tumors, "suggesting widespread impact of noncoding mutations in cancer."