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This Week in Science: Jul 3, 2009

In news this week, scientists and universities are asking US Congress "not to expand a $2 billion research program for small businesses" because it would likely cut money that could otherwise go toward research projects.

In a policy forum article, lead author Sandra Soo-Jin Lee from Stanford looks at quality standards in genetic ancestry testing, ultimately calling for government regulation of this field. Blogger Blaine Bettinger offers his thoughts on the article here.

A paper from EMBL researchers looks at Polycomb group proteins in Drosophila, finding a significant role for O-GlcNAc glycosylation in gene silencing performed by these proteins. Jeffrey Simon at the University of Minnesota has a perspectives piece on the work.

Scripps' Reza Ghadiri is senior author on a paper introducing a family of oligomers that "efficiently self-assembles by means of reversible covalent anchoring of nucleobase recognition units onto simple oligo-dipeptide backbones [thioester peptide nucleic acids (tPNAs)] and undergoes dynamic sequence modification in response to changing templates in solution," according to the abstract. The team notes that the characteristics of the peptide nucleic acids "might prove advantageous for the design or selection of catalytic constructs or biomaterials that are capable of dynamic sequence repair and adaptation."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.