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The Way to a Mouse's Brain Is Through its Gut

In a Scientific American podcast, Karen Hopkins reports on a new study that shows that a person's gut bacteria may affect their brain. In the study, which appears in Gastroenterology, researchers found that treating adult mice with oral antibiotics changed not only the bacterial community in their digestive tract, but their behavior and brain chemistry as well, Hopkins says. The normally shy mice became "less cautious and less anxious," she adds, and when they were taken off the drugs, their behavior returned to normal along with their "original intestinal balance." In order to confirm the association between gut and brain, the researchers took mice raised in germ-free cages and fed them bacteria from mice that were more active, Hopkins says. Indeed, the mice began to exhibit more energy and bold behavior. "So if you react to someone in a hostile way, you might literally be giving them a bellyful," Hopkins adds.

The Scan

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.

SpliceVault Portal Provides Look at RNA Splicing Changes Linked to Genetic Variants

The portal, described in Nature Genetics, houses variant-related messenger RNA splicing insights drawn from RNA sequencing data in nearly 335,700 samples — a set known as the 300K-RNA resource.

Automated Sequencing Pipeline Appears to Allow Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Lineage Detection in Nevada Study

Researchers in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describe and assess a Clear Labs Dx automated workflow, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis method for quickly identifying SARS-CoV-2 lineages.

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.