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This Week in Nature: Sep 29, 2016

In this week's Nature, a team led by Oxford University researchers reports on the genetic basis for the link between birth weight and adult disease. By combining genome-wide association data for birth weight from more than 150,000 individuals of multiple ancestries from 37 studies, the investigators found 60 genomic regions where fetal genotype was associated with birth weight. Further investigation revealed an inverse genetic correlation between birth weight and risk factors for type II diabetes or coronary artery disease as an adult. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.

And over in Scientific Reports, Linkoping University scientists publish a study identifying genes that may be associated with the development of human-directed social behaviors in dogs. The researchers studied the likelihood of 190 laboratory beagles maintained under standardized conditions to initiate physical interactions with humans, such as seeking eye contact, as they tried to undertake an unsolvable task. The genomes of the dogs were then analyzed, revealing two genomic regions with five candidate genes potentially associated with human-directed social behavior, including one associated with time spent close to and in physical contact with humans.