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This Week in PLoS: Mar 19, 2012

In PLoS One this week, researchers at Thailand's National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology present microPIR, a database of "microRNA-promoter target interactions for experimental microRNA researchers and computational biologists to study the microRNA regulation through gene promoter." The database "integrates various annotated genomic sequence databases — repetitive elements, transcription factor binding sites, CpG islands, and SNPs — offering users the facility to extensively explore relationships among target sites and other genomic features," the authors write. "The built-in genome browser of microPIR provides a comprehensive view of multidimensional genomic data." The resource also includes a PCR primer design module to facilitate experimental validation, and functional data from the OMIM and other resources, the team adds.

Elsewhere in the journal, a Japanese team led by investigators at Kitasato University presents the carbonic anhydrase XII, or CAXII, antibody as a sero-diagnostic marker for lung cancer, based on immunoprecipitation and MADLI TOF/TOF-mass spectrometry analysis.

Over in PLoS Genetics, the University of California, Davis' Daniele Filiault and Julin Maloof report on a GWAS for variants associated with increased hypocotyl elongation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Filiault and Maloof describe variants that underlie the shade-avoidance response in the plant.

A team led by investigators at Princeton University this week describes the "genetic architecture of highly complex chemical resistance traits across four yeast strains," through an extreme QTL mapping approach. The team says its results "improve our understanding of complex traits in yeast and have implications for study design in other organisms."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.