Research Roundup: September 28, 2018

Rare cells' sequence signals amplified, and new genetic clusters of type 2 diabetes revealed.

Welcome to the September 28, 2018 installment of Research Roundup, a recurring snapshot of recent studies published by scientists at the Broad Institute and their collaborators.

Findings the needles in a cellular haystack

Pooled single cell genomics — where scientists examine the molecular features of thousands of individual, DNA-barcoded single-cell sequence libraries simultaneously — is an increasingly powerful and popular research approach. One problem, however, is that important signals from rare cell types or states can get drowned out in a pooled library, making it hard to home in on individual rare cells without significant wasted effort. Navpreet Ranu, Alexandra-Chloé Villani, Broad institute member and Cell Ciruits Program co-director Nir Hacohen, and core institute member Paul Blainey have engineered a PCR-based enrichment strategy that makes targeted cells' signals pop up in a pooled sequencing library for easy detection. They described their approach in Nucleic Acids Research.

The many types of type 2 diabetes

Precision medicine for type 2 diabetes is a step closer after a new study led by institute member Jose Florez and Miriam Udler of the Broad Metabolism Program. The researchers found five clusters of genetic sites that may correspond to phenotypically distinguishable subtypes of the disease, with distinct physiological processes at play in various forms of the illness. Appearing in PLoS Medicine, the work represents a first step toward using genetics to identify subtypes of type 2 diabetes, which could help physicians prescribe interventions aimed at the cause of the disease, rather than just the symptoms. Read more in a Broad news story.

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