November 2010

1 November 2010

This month we have introduced a new format for many of our articles, which we hope will be more user-friendly – do let us know what you think.

Genomics, genetic testing and therapeutics

The latest release from the 1000 Genomes Project has set out a major step forward in the catalogue of human genome variation (28 October), and findings have been published from surveys on public attitudes to personal genomc testing  (4 November) and satisfaction with direct to consumer genomic testing services (9 November).

A major new German report sets out recommendations for personalised genomic testing, emphasizing the needs of patients with serious inherited disease and calling for legal and regulatory changes to protect them, and to clamp down on direct-to-consumer services (15 November).

In the UK, a new initiative is setting out to harness genomic and pharmacogenomic information to drive the development of stratified cancer medicine (25 October), while in the US the NHGRI has announced plans to divert funding from large-scale sequencing projects to research into the medical application of sequencing data (15 November), and the first European births following the use of the arrayCGH technique for egg screening have been announced (21 October).

Other legal and policy developments

In the UK, government plans to limit funding and immigration have been decried as potentially harmful for scientific and medical research (19 October), and plans have been made to drive uptake of open-access publishing of research, especially publicly-funded research (11 November), whilst a new Canadian campaign seeks to promote the benefits of publicly-funded research (12 November). Expected cuts in UK genetics public bodies have been confirmed (15 October), and the legal disputes over DNA patents have escalated in the US with the release of an official federal government position (5 November).  

The European Science Foundation has released a report on RNA research calling for EU-wide collaboration (26 October), and the Qatar Foundation has launched plans for a major new biobank (9 November).

Genetics and disease

We review new published research examining the links between genetic variants and alcohol tolerance (26 October), body mass index (22 October), individual control of HIV infection (6 November), risk of early menopause (25 October) and susceptibility to Hodgkin’s lymphoma (3 November).

A conference report has suggested that lung cancer may effectively be a distinct disease entity in smokers and non-smokers based on different genetic tumour signatures (12 November). A novel gene association with a form of dementia has raised the possibility that existing psychiatric drugs could have a therapeutic effect (2 November), and a study of depression in mice proposed that gene therapy might be beneficial for otherwise intractable disease in humans (27 October).

New reviews and commentaries

Our selection of recent articles of interest (1 November)

Other recent news and research

Scientists identify gene for melanoma
Gene finding opens way to new hypertension treatment
Stem cell treatments boost muscle power in mice
Blood biopsy to put cancer in a test tube?
Gene mutation discovery could affect leukemia treatment
Rogue gene invades stem cells to spark cancer
Breakup of genetics advisory panel seen as premature
Autism risk gene may rewire brain
NICE to lose powers to decide on new drugs
How cheaper genomes fuel science
Knowledge of genetic cancer risks often dies with patients
Scientists discover risk gene for dilated cardiomyopathy
Mystery fraud accusations against stem cell researchers
ESHRE publishes new PGD guidelines
Unique database of cancer for personalized treatment launched
New funding for Canadian microbiome research
Gene synthesis rules favour convenience

See also the Genomics & Health Weekly Update from the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics and the GenInfo Monthly Newsletter from HumGen.