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This Week in Science: Oct 14, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Science this week, Miyuki Sato and Ken Sato at Gunma University in Japan show that fertilization-triggered autophagy is "required for the elimination of paternal mitochondria in Caenorhabditis elegans." Sato and Sato show that, consequently, such autophagy is also responsible for "maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA" in the roundworm.

In this week's Science, a team led by investigators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center shows that "enteric viruses exploit intestinal microbes for replication and transmission." Meanwhile, a separate team led by researchers at the University of Chicago says that "successful transmission of a retrovirus depends on the commensal microbiota."

Elsewhere in this week's Science, investigators in Switzerland discuss "the dynamic architecture of Hox gene clusters, saying that "spatial compartmentalization may be key to process [their] colinear activation." The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Joseph Yeeles and Kenneth Marians show that the E. coli replisome is "inherently DNA damage tolerant."

In this week's Science Express, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and their collaborators show that inactivation of the repressor BCL11A in sickle-cell disease transgenic mice "corrects the hematologic and pathologic defects associated with SCD through high-level pancellular HbF induction." Further, such "interference with HbF silencing by manipulation of a single target protein is sufficient to reverse SCD," the authors add.