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Funny Feller

It's a bit early for April Fool's Day, but University of Oxford researcher Stephan Feller apparently couldn't wait to do a little gentle tweaking of the 'omics community with a "paper" published this week in the journal Cell Communication & Signaling (of which he happens to be the editor-in-chief.)

In it, he introduces a new concept that he says is on the cusp of taking the scientific community by storm — microproteins, or, because everyone loves a good abbreviation, miPs. What are they? Nobody knows. That shouldn't stop them, though, from becoming the next big thing, Feller says.

"To study them is easy," he writes. "Just mass spec your protein dye fronts to death, synthesise all found miP candidates, biotinylate them, and go fishing for binding partners."

These heretofore non-existent molecules "can be expected to steer embryonic development and stem cell differentiation, to play a role in cancers and neurodegenerative diseases and should also make great leads for future drugs," Feller says. "Clearly, miPs are yet another Nobel Prize lurking, and begging for attention."

Sounds like someone has read one too many overhyped journal submissions.

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.