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This Week in Nature: Apr 23, 2015

In Nature Biotechnology this week, two research groups present draft genomes of the cultivated Upland cotton, Gossypium hirsutum. In one study, a team of investigators sequenced the genome of the plant by integrating whole-genome shotgun reads, BAC-end sequences, and genotype-by-sequencing genetic maps. In the other report, researchers sequenced the G. hirsutum genome using 181x paired-end sequences along with 5x BAC-to-BAC sequences and a high-resolution genetic map, and also performed transcriptome sequencing. Collectively, the studies demonstrate the challenges of sequencing polyploid genomes and the complexity of the cotton genome, and provide new insights into how the crop evolved and how it may be improved. GenomeWeb has more on these studies here.

Meanwhile, in Nature, researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University report on the development of a personalized cancer vaccine that could protect mice from aggressive tumors. The researchers identified tumor-specific mutations that could induce immune responses in mouse models of lung, skin, and colon cancer, many of which can be recognized by CD4+ T cells. They generated vaccines that delivered custom mRNA sequences that triggered the immune cells to attack the target mutations, improving the animals' survival. They also found similar mutations that can be recognized by CD4+ T cells in humans, suggesting that the approach may be developed into a therapeutic.