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This Week in PNAS: Sep 1, 2009

In PNAS, there's no shortage of clinically oriented research. This paper from senior author Jeremy Nicholson and team use pharmacometabonomics to identify metabolic interactions in humans that depend on their microbiome; they urge an assessment of these microbial communities as "an integral part of pharmaceutical development and of personalized health care." Ian Wilson offers a commentary.

Meanwhile, this paper links mutations in the BLK gene to maturity-onset diabetes of the young after an effort to resequence 732 kb of genomic sequence in six affected families, and this paper suggests that "chromosome 14 harbors tumor suppressor genes associated with [nasopharyngeal carcinoma] and that a candidate gene, MIPOL1, is associated with tumor development."

Eric Brouzes from Harvard and RainDance Technologies is lead author on a paper about using a droplet microfluidic platform for high-throughput screening of single mammalian cells. The research was validated "by conducting a droplet-based cytotoxicity screen," the authors write.

Scientists used genome-wide location analysis to demonstrate that the yeast ortholog Sub1 is important for optimal transcription using RNA polymerase III; in another paper, researchers studied the S. cerevisiae genome and found that phosphorylation of the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain by TFIIH kinase is surprisingly not essential.

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.