The May issue of Genome Medicine features two articles that highlight the role of microbes in human health and disease as part of a recently launched thematic series on this exact topic. Charis Eng muses on the importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome to prevent disease and discusses how microbiome profiles could be used as a diagnostic tool for cancer. On a related topic, a study by Chris Boshoff and colleagues reveals that specific genetic alterations are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) status in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Notably, HPV-positive tumors have more copy number alterations in the PI3 kinase pathway, which might be important for the interpretation of current clinical trials using inhibitors of this pathway.
A method in this issue by Curt Scharfe and colleagues employs a new PCR-based technology for sequence target enrichment using double stranded DNA probes. This approach shows improved accuracy and coverage and is potentially cheaper than previous approaches, as discussed by Stephan Zuchner and Toumy Gettouche in the accompanying Research Highlight. Another study, from the laboratory of Daniel Geschwind, describes regional gene expression changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease status and shows an emerging picture of cell-specific gene expression patterns. Interestingly, David Gurwitz argues in a highly accessed Musings article that gene expression profiling is still the best tool available to find markers of disease and response to treatment.
Two Review articles were additionally published in May; the first Review, by Catherine Wu and Dan Landau, covers recent genomic advances in understanding chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In the second Review, Hong-Wen Deng and colleagues discuss how genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics have contributed to our knowledge of osteoporosis. The issue also includes a Meeting report by Santhosh Girirajan, covering the 7th Wellcome Trust Genomic Disorders conference, recently held in Cambridge, UK.
If you want to know more about the genomics of health, or top-down approaches in proteomics, then you’ll like what June has in store for you at Genome Medicine. Stay tuned!