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This Week in PLoS: Sep 28, 2009

University of California, Berkeley scientist Mark Dayel is first author on work that used computer simulation to study actin in eukaryotic cells. To understand how cells move, he and his team created an Accumulative Particle-Spring model that builds on a previous model. "The APS model explains observed transitions between smooth and pulsatile motion as well as subtle variations in network architecture caused by differences in geometry and conditions," says the abstract. The paper appears in this week's PLoS Biology.

In work published in PLoS Computational Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers looked at the relationship between genetic diseases and the aging process. By building a human disease-aging network "to study the relationship among aging genes and genetic disease genes," they found that human disease genes are much closer to aging genes than chance would predict and that diseases can be related to aging in two ways. "Type I diseases have their genes significantly close to aging genes, while type II diseases do not," they write.

Also in PLoS Computational Biology, the Sanger Institute's Alex Bateman and the University of California, San Diego's Philip Bourne list ten "simple" rules for chairing a scientific session. "Chairing a session at a scientific conference is a thankless task. If you get it right, no one is likely to notice. But there are many ways to get it wrong," they say. A few of their pointers include not letting the session get off schedule, bring a watch, be prepared to introduce the speakers, and don't be afraid to move on without taking questions.

Monsanto's Brian Hauge is first author on a paper appearing in PLoS One that relates a technique for cloning inverted repeats for double-stranded RNA expression. Their method is based on tagging the sense and antisense fragments with single-stranded tails and then assembling them in a single-tube Ligase Independent Cloning reaction. "Our single-tube reaction provides a highly efficient method for the assembly of inverted repeat constructs for gene suppression applications," they write.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.