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This Week in Nature: Jun 7, 2018

In this week's Nature, an international research team presents a genetic atlas of the human plasma proteome, revealing 1,927 genetic associations with 1,478 proteins that could prove useful in treating a range of disorders. The scientists show that protein quantitative trait loci overlap with gene expression quantitative trait loci, as well as with disease-associated loci, and uncover evidence that protein biomarkers have causal roles in disease. "By linking genetic factors to diseases via specific proteins, our analyses highlight potential therapeutic targets, opportunities for matching existing drugs with new disease indications, and potential safety concerns for drugs under development," they write. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.

And in Nature Plants, a group of Korean investigators describe the use of adenine base editors (ABEs) to perform precision genome editing in plants. ABEs have been recently shown to enable targeted A-to-G base conversions in higher eukaryotic cells. By modifying the molecules, the investigators were able to use them in protoplasts of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus via transient transfection, and to individual plants through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, to obtain desired phenotypes. This proof of concept for ABE applications in plants opens up new avenues for plant genome engineering and biotechnology, the researchers say.