A paper out of the European Commission has proposed that scientists now publish sensitive biological research as two versions, a public one and a full-content version for "relevant bio-stakeholders." Several groups, including the European Biosafety Association, argue that this is would be "unworkable and contrary to scientific freedom."
In other news, two papers published this week have addressed whether using the protein Oct4 as a marker for adult stem cells is valid, as has been done in the past. In embryonic stem cells, Oct4 keeps them pluripotent, but the papers, one out of Rudolf Jaenisch's lab at the Whitehead Institute, have found the Oct4 is not expressed in adult stem cells in mice.
Researchers at UW Madison and Washington University take a look at how gene duplication events can help shape the evolution of genes. They looked at two genes in S. cerevisiae, GAL1 and GAL3, which evolved from a single bifunctional gene, and found that duplication of the ancestral gene allowed the genes to acquire new functions: GAL3 lost its enzymatic activity, whereas GAL1 altered its regulatory requirements.
Whitehead scientists have found that in addition to mediating other cellular functions, miRNAs play a role in regulating tumor metastasis. In looking at normal versus cancerous human breast tissue, they found miR-10b to be differentially expressed in metastatic cells but not in healthy or in non-metastatic cells. They also elucidated its mechanism of action, finding that transcription factor Twist stimulates miR-10b expression, which reduces levels of transcription factor HOXD10. This results in increased levels of RHOC, which stimulates cancer-cell motility.