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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."

The Scan

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.

Study Finds Variants Linked to Diverticular Disease, Presents Polygenic Score

A new study in Cell Genomics reports on more than 150 genetic variants associated with risk of diverticular disease.

Mild, Severe Psoriasis Marked by Different Molecular Features, Spatial Transcriptomic Analysis Finds

A spatial transcriptomics paper in Science Immunology finds differences in cell and signaling pathway activity between mild and severe psoriasis.

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.