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This Week in Science: May 1, 2009

The big news published in the early online edition of Science this week is the largest study ever of African genetic diversity, led by the University of Pennsylvania's Sarah Tishkoff. Covering 121 African populations, four African American populations, and 60 non-African populations and scanning 1327 genetic markers, the international team of scientists found among other things that Africans are descended from 14 ancestral populations and that East Africa was the source of the migration that populated the rest of the world, summarizes a news story. Genetic Future's Daniel MacArthur calls is a "profoundly impressive paper," and for a more detailed analysis of the findings, check out a story at our sister publication, GenomeWeb Daily News.

Researchers at North Carolina State University and Harvard have used mass spec to analyze tissue and collagen from the leg of an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur, Brachylophosaurus canadensis. They found that indeed, these tissues are preserved in ancient fossils and support a close relation between birds and dinosaurs.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science used allele-specific expression profiling of two yeast species and their hybrid to identify changes related to either cis or trans regulatory regions. They found that divergent expression was generally due to changes in cis and that in hybrids, expression differences "occurred through novel cis-trans interactions or, more often, through modified trans regulation associated with environmental sensing."

Finally, in an editorial, John Holdren, President Obama's science advisor, lays out his roadmap for the coming years, while Richard Scheller, Genentech's new executive vice president for research and early development, spoke with Science's Greg Miller in an interview about how the merger with Roche will affect research at Genentech.

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.