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This Week in Science: Jun 4, 2010

In a Science paper published online in advance this week, researchers at the New York University Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and their collaborators characterize the 3' untranslated regions in Caenorhabditis elegans. Using polyA capture, 3'RACE, full-length cDNAs, and RNA-seq, the team defines nearly 26,000 distinct 3'UTRs and frequent alternative isoforms in C. elegans; they also show that average 3'UTR length decreases as the worms age. "We identify conserved 3'UTR motifs, isoform-specific predicted microRNA target sites, and polyadenylation of most histone genes," the authors write, and suggest that their "data reveal a rich complexity of 3'UTRs genome-wide and throughout development."

In Science Signaling this week, investigators at the Weizmann Institute of Science and their international colleagues report that epidermal growth factor "decreases the abundance of microRNAs that restrain oncogeneic transcription factors." The team reports an early abundance of 23 miRNAs "is decreased in breast and in brain tumors driven by the EGFR or the closely related HER2," and suggest that their findings target specific miRNAs "as attenuators of growth factor signaling and oncogenesis."

A trio of Caltech researchers show that permissive secondary mutations enabled the evolution of oseltamivir resistance in H1N1 influenza strain A. They ascertained that the H274Y mutation "decreases the amount of neuraminidase that reaches the cell surface and that this defect can be counteracted by secondary mutations that also restore viral fitness." Therefore, they suggest, oseltamivir resistance has been enabled by secondary "mutations that allowed the virus to tolerate subsequent occurrences of H274Y."

In a news piece in Science this week, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel discusses the apparent failure of genome-wide association studies to elucidate common genes that impact cardiovascular health. "While GWA data aren't very useful for calculating risk, GWA backers are hanging on to another hope: that they can elucidate disease biology," the authors writes; she adds that "researchers hope that the low-effect genes they are finding will help identify pathways and drug targets."

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.