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This Week in PNAS: Nov 1, 2011

In this week's PNAS Early Edition, an international team led by investigators at Yonsei University present RiceNet, "an experimentally tested genome-scale gene network for a monocotyledonous species." The authors say RiceNet can also "accurately predict gene function in another major monocotyledonous crop species, maize," and further, that it could facilitate the "engineering of pathways critical to crop productivity."

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute this week show that the mat1-M-encoded factor Mc, "which shares structural and functional similarities with the male sex-determining factor SRY, is highly enriched at the swi2 and swi5 loci and promotes elevated levels of RPC [recombination-promoting complex] components" in Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells. The NCI team reports in PNAS results that suggest "Mc modulates levels of recombination factors, which is important for mating-type donor selection and for the biased gene conversion observed during meiosis, where M cells serve as preferential donors of genetic information."

The University of Strasbourg's Bertrand Ludes and his colleagues report their analysis of "DNA extracted from human remains excavated in a Spanish funeral cave dating from the beginning of the fifth millennium B.C.," which generated results the authors say indicate "a surprising temporal genetic homogeneity in" Neolithic individuals and French Late Neolithic individuals.

In another paper published online in advance this week, a team led by investigators at the University of Utah Health Science Center reports its use of RNAi-based gene silencing to produce "improved photoreceptor survival, delayed disease onset, and increased visual function" in a dominant retinitis pigmentosa mouse model. "Our results provide a promising strategy toward effective RNAi-based gene therapy by scAAV2/8 delivery for dominant retinal diseases," the authors write.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.