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This Week in PNAS : Jan 31, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in PNAS this week, researchers at China's Huazhong Agriculture University show that the long non-coding RNA known as long-day-specific male fertility-associated RNA regulates photoperiod-sensitive male sterility, or PSMS, in rice. "Molecular [elucidation] of PSMS has important implications for understanding molecular mechanisms of photoperiod regulation of many biological processes and also for developing male sterile germplasms for hybrid crop breeding," the authors write.

Investigators at the University of Adelaide use two different transplastomic tobacco lines to show that "DNA migration from chloroplasts to the nucleus is markedly increased by mild heat stress." Further, the team shows that "insertion of mitochondrial DNA fragments during the repair of induced double-strand breaks is increased by heat stress."

The University of Iceland's Juan Nogales and his colleagues report their construction of a genome-scale metabolic network for Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, which they say "describes key photosynthetic processes in mechanistic detail." In the team's in silico analysis, it reconstructed the photosynthetic process under different light and inorganic carbon conditions and under genetic perturbations. Among their findings, "we identified two main states of the photosynthetic apparatus: a Ci [inorganic Carbon]-limited state and a light-limited state," Nogales et al. write in PNAS, adding that their study might also "guide bioengineering projects toward optimal biofuel production in photosynthetic organisms."

Elsewhere in this week's Early Edition, Colin Glen and Yuri Dubrova at the University of Leicester show that "exposure to anticancer drugs can result in transgenerational genomic instability in mice." Glen and Dubrova found that "paternal exposure to a wide variety of mutagens can result in transgenerational instability manifesting in their offspring," they write.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.