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A Bit of a Stretch, But ...

In honor of England’s upcoming royal wedding, in which Prince William and Catherine Middleton are to be married at London's Westminster Abbey, Cell deputy editor Robert Kruger this week "explores the more biological aspects of this historic union, including the neurocircuits that strengthen a marriage, the epigenetic changes that transform a 'commoner' into a queen, and the search process for finding a high-affinity partner in a sea of weak interactions." More specifically, Krueger says that "although few can relate to William’s particular challenge of searching for a future bride amidst such an overwhelming number of would-be princesses, his problem was reminiscent of a dilemma that confronts transcription factors, which must scan extraordinarily long stretches of DNA to find appropriate targets at which to initiate gene expression." And, as Nature's The Great Beyond blog notes, Kruger also refers to some rather tangential historical themes in British royalty — including beheading, which he relates to polyp regeneration via Wnt3 — and to Middleton's impending transition from a "commoner" to a princess, which he likens to the practice among bees in which certain larvae are transformed into queens.