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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.

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.