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This Week in Nucleic Acids Research: Oct 13, 2010

In an advance online article published in Nucleic Acids Research this week, a trio of researchers at Harvard Medical School describes improved and complete enrichment, co-amplification at lower denaturation temperature PCR — or ice-COLD-PCR — which they say "enables rapid amplification and robust enrichment for low-abundance unknown DNA mutations." The team tested the efficacy of ice-COLD-PCR by enriching regions of TP53 in serially diluted mutant and wild-type DNA mixtures. When compared with conventional- and COLD-PCR, ice-Cold PCR "enriched all mutation types and allowed identification of mutation abundances down to 1 percent, and 0.1 percent by Sanger sequencing or pyrosequencing," the authors write.

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama and at Iowa State University present cBARBEL, a catfish genome database, in Nucleic Acids Research this week. The catfish breeder and researcher bioinformatics entry location database "serves as a comprehensive, integrative platform for all aspects of catfish genetics, genomics and related data resources," the authors write. Currently, cBARBEL contains a contig viewer with SNP information overlay, BLAST-based search functions, and a visualization of genetic linkages in the ictalurid catfish.

Investigators at the University of Toronto this week describe "evidences for increased expression variation of duplicate genes in budding yeast." Specifically, Dong Dong and colleagues show that "trans-regulation effect[s] can explain [a] larger fraction of the expression variation than cis-regulation," which is "true for both duplicate genes and singleton genes," they write. Dong et al. also report that duplicate genes affected by cis-acting regulation have more genetic diversity in their promoters and coding regions than singleton genes, while duplicate and singleton genes under trans-acting regulation "are differentially regulated by chromatin regulators and transcription factors."

Also in Nucleic Acids Research this week, investigators at the New Jersey Medical School describe the "evolution and expression of the snaR family of small non-coding RNAs." Upon investigating snaR genes and their expression in humans and primates, Andrew Parrott and his colleagues now infer that "snaR evolved from the left monomer of the primate-specific Alu SINE family" and that "snaRs participate in tissue- and species-specific regulation of cell growth and translation," they write.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.