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This Week in PNAS: Feb 28, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in PNAS this week, investigators at the University of California, Davis, "describe a unique technique for rapidly creating recombinant doubled haploid populations in Arabidopsis thaliana: centromere-mediated genome elimination." The team says its approach shows that "haploid populations offer a rapid, easy alternative to RILs [recombinant inbred lines] for Arabidopsis genetic analysis."

Elsewhere in this week's Early Edition, a team led by researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents genetic evidence of "a distinct lineage of influenza A virus from bats." The CDC-led team says that "despite its divergence from known influenza A viruses, the bat virus is compatible for genetic exchange with human influenza viruses in human cells, suggesting the potential capability for reassortment and contributions to new pandemic or panzootic influenza A viruses."

Investigators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City this week show that REST-dependent epigenetic remodeling plays a role in neurodegeneration associated with ischemic stroke. The authors show that REST binds a subset of so-called transcriptionally responsive genes, and that it "assembles with CoREST, mSin3A, histone deacetylases 1 and 2, histone methyl-transferase G9a, and methyl CpG binding protein 2 at the promoters of target genes, where it orchestrates epigenetic remodeling and gene silencing."

Finally, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and at the University at Albany in New York show that there are "multiple self-splicing introns in the 16S rRNA genes of giant sulfur bacteria" in a PNAS paper published online in advance this week. "The detection of elongated 16S rRNA genes has profound implications for common methods in molecular ecology and may cause systematic biases in several techniques," the authors write.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.