Study uncovers hard-to-detect cancer mutations ​

New research, led by Li Ding, PhD, shows that current genome analysis approaches systematically miss detecting a certain type of complex mutation in cancer patients’ tumors. A significant percentage of these complex mutations are found in well-known cancer genes that could be targeted by existing drugs, potentially expanding the number of cancer patients who may benefit.

Gut bacteria can cause life-threatening infections in preterm babies

Babies born prematurely are surviving in increasing numbers, but many withstand complications of early birth only to suffer late-onset sepsis — life-threatening bloodstream infections that strike after infants reach 72 hours of age. The causes of late-onset sepsis have not been clear. But now, researchers at the School of Medicine led by Phillip I. Tarr, MD, and Barbara B. Warner, MD, have discovered that preterm babies’ guts harbor infectious microbes that can cause this condition.

Maize genome pilot sequencing project results in six-fold reduction of effective size of maize genome

A team of scientists reports a major advance in seqencing large genomes.A team of scientists that includes a Washington University in St. Louis biologist, has evaluated and validated a gene-enrichment strategy for genome sequencing and has reported a major advance in sequencing large genomes. The team showed a six-fold reduction of the effective size of the Zea mays (maize or corn) genome while creating a four-fold increase in the gene identification rate when compared to standard whole-genome sequencing methods.

Renowned historian of life and biomedical sciences to give Thomas Hall Lecture

Everett Mendelsohn, one of America’s foremost historians of science, will deliver the Thomas Hall Lecture titled “Dolly and the Historians: Science, Politics and Ethics of Cloning” as part of the Washington University Assembly Series at 4 p.m., Thursday, November 13. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in Rebstock Hall, Room 215, located just east of Mallinckrodt Center (6445 Forsyth Blvd) on the Washington University campus.