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This Week in Science: Nov 21, 2014

In this week's Science, a team led by the University of Washington's John Stamatoyannopoulos reports on a study comparing regions of mouse and human DNA that control gene expression, finding that about a third of them are conserved between the two species. Working in conjunction with the Mouse ENCODE Consortium, the researchers mapped the mouse regulatory DNA landscape in 45 mouse cell and tissue types using sites called DNAse I hypersensitive sites (DHSs), which typically mark gene regulatory regions. The findings were compared with DHS maps from corresponding human cells and tissues. Notably, some of the shared DHSs were farther from the genes they influenced than were DHSs that weren't shared, suggesting that the DHSs that have been conserved throughout mammalian evolutionary history may be functionally different from DHSs closer to the gene they control. GenomeWeb has more on the Mouse ENCODE papers here.

Also in Science, a Harvard Medical School group reports data showing that epigenetic information can be transmitted through histone modifications independently of DNA sequence, DNA methylation, or RNAi. In fission yeast, they showed that ectopically induced domains for histone H3 lysine 9 methylation — a conserved marker of heterochromatin — are inherited through mitotic and meiotic cell divisions even after the removal of the sequence-specific initiator.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.