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Is There a Word for 'Promiscuous Binding' for RNAi?

Making RNAi work in therapeutic application is tricky, and here, Derek Lowe reports on a paper published in Nature last week that does a good job demonstrating just how much researchers don't know. They used RNAi to knock down VEGF, whose overactivation leads to macular degeneration. In the end, they found that many different small interfering RNA sequences can work, and what's really being targeted is TLR3, the cell surface receptor that works downstream on factors that turn off angiogenesis. "The companies that are already dosing RNAi therapies for macular degeneration have just discovered that there's an awful lot that they don't know about what they're doing, for one thing," Lowe writes. "On the flip side, there are a lot of human cell types with TLR3 receptors on them, and a lot of angiogenic disorders that could potentially be treated, at least partially, by targeting them in this manner."

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.