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This Week in PNAS: May 12, 2009

Scientists from the National Institute of Genomic Medicine in Mexico present an analysis of genomic diversity in Mexican Mestizo populations. The research was done with the goal of creating a better foundation for genomic medicine targeting Mexicans. "Our results provide evidence of genetic differences between Mexican subpopulations that should be considered in the design and analysis of association studies of complex diseases," the authors write. GenomeWeb Daily News has the full story on the implications of the paper.

A publication from researchers at Georgetown University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory used siRNAs to perform timed in vivo knockdown for the study of two binding protein homologs in chicken. The homologs have similar tissue distribution but different expression peaks, the authors write. "We conclude that BPs play a significant role in fine-tuning the complex FGF signaling network during distinct phases of embryonic development."

Sophie Zinn-Justin is senior author on a paper describing the structure of a DNA gatekeeping system in the bacteriophage SPP1. The authors write, "The resulting structure reveals that gatekeeper assembly is accompanied by a large rearrangement of the gp15 structure and by folding of a flexible loop of gp16 to form an intersubunit parallel β-sheet that closes the portal channel. This stopper system prevents release of packaged DNA."

Scientists from a number of cancer institutes teamed up in this work with senior author Brian Druker, reporting on "an RNAi-assisted protein target identification (RAPID) technology that individually assesses targeting of each member of the tyrosine kinase gene family." The technology will be especially effective when paired with whole-genome sequencing to tailor specific therapeutic courses to individual patients, the authors say. "We demonstrate that RAPID screening of primary leukemia cells from 30 patients identifies targets that are critical to survival of the malignant cells from 10 of these individuals."

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.