In Nature Genetics this week, a multi-national team of scientists publishes the largest functional analysis of the mouse genome to date, identifying a number of previously unknown functions for various genes. In the study, the investigators set out to analyze all phenotypes for known mutations in 320 murine genes. For each mutant mouse, 413 measurements were made including body weight and behavior. Phenotypes were identified for many genes that had no previously known function, providing "a powerful basis for hypothesis generation and further investigation in diverse systems."
And in Nature Methods, University of Iowa and Virginia Tech scientists report on a method that can improve the sensitivity of chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) in low-abundance cells. Using the microfluidics-based ChIP-seq protocol, which requires as few as 100 cells, the team was able to uncover new enhancers and super enhancers in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from mouse fetal liver.
Also in Nature Methods, a group of Chinese and US scientists describes a new method for sequencing transfer RNA. By using engineered demethylases to remove base methylations and a highly processive thermostable group II intron reverse transcriptase, the investigators were able to achieve efficient and quantitative tRNA sequencing in a human embryonic kidney cell line. They say that the method should be applicable to all organisms.