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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

LONDON – The largest such study to date has demonstrated whole genome sequencing can be applied to the routine clinical diagnosis of rare inherited disorders for which there are currently no standard genetic tests. The Whole Genome Sequence 500 project sequenced the DNA of 500 patients who were classed as having 42 different diseases, all of suspected inherited origin, for whom genetic tests had failed to deliver a diagnosis.
VIRUSES FIGHT BACTERIA
By equipping bacteriophages with the gene-editing system CRISPR, researchers have been able to sensitize drug-resistant bacteria to antibiotics. And by combining that sensitization with enhanced resistance to a second separate phage, the team was able to forestall the development of resistance against the first phage – which left the bacteria vulnerable to antibiotics but did not kill them outright.
'A BULL'S-EYE'
Scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories have adapted the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique in a way that enabled them to comprehensively search for cancer drug targets, by targeting CRISPR to specific protein-coding domains rather than the 5-prime exons of genes.
HONG KONG – The discovery of a novel mechanism for blood pressure (BP) regulation in a study by researchers at the Riken Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Wako, Japan, could have important implications for the control of elevated BP and may lead to the discovery of new antihypertensive medications.
SKIN AND BONES

Understanding how genomic variation plays out at the level of gene expression in different tissues is a fundamental scientific question, but also a prerequisite for truly harnessing genomic information for therapeutic purposes.

GROWING UP TOO SOON?
Researchers have found that the neurodevelopmental disorder Costello syndrome may be due to deregulated signaling to neurons by a supporting cell type, the astrocyte. The findings suggest that modulating the communication between astrocytes and neurons could be an approach to treating the disorder.

HONG KONG – The findings of a Sino-U.S. study that links the aging process to the deterioration of heterochromatin could lead to methods of preventing and/or treating age-related diseases including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, researchers reported in the May 1, 2015, issue of Science

'Obesity increases the risk for many chronic diseases'
HONG KONG – A study by researchers at the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) has identified a new means by which brown adipose tissue is regulated in the body, which offers an attractive new target for the development of new anti-obesity treatments.
HONG KONG – The discovery of cancer-associated functions of a ligase enzyme and the gene encoding for it by researchers from Singapore, China and the U.S. may lead to the development of a new approach to the treatment of glioma.

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