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This Week in Science: Apr 17, 2009

In early online, scientists have found that transposases play a role in one large eukaryotic genome. Studying the protozoan Oxytricha trifallax, which gets rid of 95 percent of its germline genome during development, they found that transposase genes play a key role in this process. "Transposase gene expression occurs during germline-soma differentiation and ... silencing of transposase by RNAi leads to abnormal DNA rearrangement in the offspring," they say in the abstract.

There are a couple of news stories on the Recovery Act, one looking at the flood of new applications from researchers hoping to get a piece of the NIH's additional $8.2 billion, and another checking into how the NSF is using the $2 billion it got to fund proposals already in the pipeline.

Cambridge scientists teamed up with 454 to resequence exons and splice sites of 10 candidate genes from 480 patients with type 1 diabetes and 480 controls. They found four rare variants that lowered type 1 diabetes risk in IFIH1 (interferon induced with helicase C domain 1), a gene located in a region previously associated with type 1 diabetes and linked to antiviral response.

In work led by Elliott Margulies, researchers found that local DNA sequence can effect its structure enough to alter the binding patterns, and evolution, of transcription factors. Using an algorithm to measure constraint, they discovered that 12 percent of bases are evolutionarily constrained, which is twice that detected by nucleotide sequence-based algorithms. These regions correlated with functional noncoding elements, suggesting that "the molecular shape of DNA is under selection and can identify evolutionary history."

The Scan

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.

Genome Research Papers on IPAFinder, Structural Variant Expression Effects, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Markers

In Genome Research this week: IPAFinder method to detect intronic polyadenylation, influence of structural variants on gene expression, and more.