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This Week in PNAS : May 1, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in PNAS this week, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign present "an experimental approach based on multicolor single-molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization to study the composition of viral RNAs at single-virus particle resolution." The team applied its FISH-based approach to determine the copy number of each RNA segment within individual virus particles for the wild-type influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/34, or PR8, as well as for a recombinant PR8 virus. Overall, the researchers found evidence to suggest "that for the majority of the virus particles, only one copy of each RNA segment is packaged into one virus particle," which they say supports the idea that "the packaging of influenza viral genome is a selective process."

Elsewhere in this week's Early Edition, David Pollock at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and his colleagues Grant Thiltgen and Richard Goldstein at London's National Institute for Medical Research show that the process of amino acid replacement in proteins functions under an evolutionary Stokes shift, which they say "has profound implications for the study of protein evolution and the modeling of evolutionary processes."

An international team led by investigators at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., this week show that "lysine acetylation of the oncogenic transcription factor STAT3 is elevated in tumors," and that its inhibition by resveratrol results in demethylation. Overall, the City of Hope-led team says its findings "provide a rationale for targeting acetylated STAT3 for chemoprevention and cancer therapy."

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.