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This Week in Nature: May 31, 2018

In this week's Nature Microbiology, a Joint Genome Institute-led team presents a new informatics approach to recovering microbial genomes from metagenomes. The dereplication, aggregation and scoring method — dubbed DAS Tool — uses a consensus binning strategy and recovers substantially more near-complete genomes, including previously unreported lineages, than any single binning method alone, according to the researchers. "The ability to reconstruct many near-complete genomes from metagenomics data will greatly advance genome-centric analyses of ecosystems," they say.

And in Nature Medicine, an international research team publishes a study highlighting the relationship of early-life complications (ELCs) — such as adverse events during childbirth — and genetic risk factors in schizophrenia. The investigators analyzed genetic data and ELC history for 2,885 schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, and discover that patients with ELC histories have significantly higher polygenic disease risk scores than patients without ELC histories. Notably, schizophrenia risk-associated genes affected by ELCs were highly expressed in the placenta, and their expression tended to be abnormally regulated in complicated pregnancies. Taken together, the findings suggest that "a subset of the most significant genetic variants associated with schizophrenia converge on a developmental trajectory sensitive to events that affect the placental response to stress, which may offer insights into sex biases and primary prevention," the authors write. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.