Genomic recycling: Ancestral genes take on new roles

One often hears about the multitude of genes we have in common with chimps, birds or other living creatures, but such comparisons are sometimes misleading. The shared percentage usually refers only to genes that encode instructions for making proteins — while overlooking regulatory genes, which nonetheless make up a large part of the genome.

Discovery of genes linked to preterm birth in landmark study

A massive international DNA analysis of pregnant women has identified for the first time six gene regions that influence the length of pregnancy and the timing of birth. The findings may lead to new ways to prevent preterm birth and its consequences — the leading cause of death among children under age 5 worldwide.

miR-122 target sites in liver cancer: study links three genes to patient survival

A new study shows that a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, such as during liver-cancer development, the activity of certain cancer-promoting genes goes up. The findings could one day help doctors better predict survival in liver cancer patients and help determine whether the molecule — called microRNA-122 — should be developed as an anticancer drug.

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns of individual cancers observed in the study strongly reinforces the need for personalized cancer treatment based on precision medicine.