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This Week in Nucleic Acids Research: Jun 10, 2015

A team from the Beckman Research Institute and the Van Andel Research Institute tracked gene expression, DNA methylation, and histone methylation in skin fibroblast samples from 10 individuals ranging in age from 35-years to 75-years old, as it reports in Nucleic Acids Research. Among the genes showing age-related shifts in expression were those involved in protein translation and ribosome function, the study's authors note, speculating that "age-dependent down-regulation of protein translation-related components contributes to extend human lifespan."

A hybrid sequencing study by University of Iowa and other researchers uncovered and characterized fusion patterns in a breast cancer cell lines. Using a method called Isoform Detection and Prediction, or IDP, fusion sequencing, the team combined reads from Pacific Biosciences and Illumina sequencing technologies to pick up fusions in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. The analysis uncovered dozens of different isoforms representing 14 fusion genes, pointing to the feasibility of applying the approach more broadly.

Finally, researchers from France and Colombia introduce the latest version of web-based tool called SNiPlay3, developed for finding and analyzing SNPs and small insertions and deletions. In its current form, the tool can take in data generated with a wide range of high-throughput approaches — from RNA sequencing and whole-genome resequencing to genotyping-by-sequencing. "[I]n addition to the various scaled-up analyses allowed by the application … SNiPlay3 proposes new modules for GWAS, population stratification, distance tree analysis, and visualization of SNP density," the researchers write.

The Scan

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.

Active Lifestyle Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in People at High Genetic Risk

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that an active lifestyle goes a long way in type 2 diabetes prevention.

Beneficial, Harmful Effects of Introgression Between Wild and Domesticated European Grapes

A paper in PNAS shows that European wild grapevines were an important resource for improving the flavor of cultivated wine grapes.

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.