In Nature this week, researchers from the Mouse ENCODE Consortium publish several papers describing potentially functional elements in the mouse genome, helping to validate the animal as a model organism for human disease, and providing a new resource for the study of mammalian biology. The papers specifically report on DNA elements in the mouse genome, the conservation of trans-acting circuitry during mammalian regulatory evolution, the principles of regulatory information conservation between mouse and human, and topologically associating domains as stable units of replication-timing regulation. GenomeWeb has more on these studies here.
Meanwhile, in Nature Biotechnology, a multi-institute team of scientists presents the draft genome of the ferret, which serves as an important model for various human respiratory diseases including influenza. The researchers also characterized the ferret host response to two influenza virus infections and showed distinct signatures in ferret trachea and lung tissues specific to 1918 or 2009 human pandemic flu outbreaks. GenomeWeb also covers the ferret genome here.