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This Week in Science: Oct 28, 2011

In a Science paper published online in advance this week, an international team led by investigators in France shows that "upon fertilization, a Caenorhabditis elegans spermatozoon triggers the recruitment of autophagosomes within minutes and subsequent paternal mitochondria degradation." This post-fertilization autophagy of sperm organelles, the authors show, prevents paternal mtDNA transmission in the nematode.

Over in this week's issue, researchers at Columbia University and their colleagues report their generation of mice that express an enzymatically defective Brca1 to test whether the protein's enzymatic function is required for tumor suppression. "We found that this mutant Brca1 prevents tumor formation to the same degree as does wild-type Brca1 in three different genetically engineered mouse models of cancer," the authors write in Science.

This week in Science Signaling, a team led by investigators at Harvard University reports on its investigation of the "proteomic and functional genomic landscape of receptor tyrosine kinase and Ras to extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling." The researchers say their "analysis provides a resource for understanding how output through this clinically relevant pathway is regulated in different contexts."

And in a perspective piece appearing in Science Translational Medicine this week, Harvard University's Yvonne Chen and Stanford University's Christina Smolke present an "overview of recent developments in synthetic biology in the context of translational research," and consider the challenges of bringing synthetic biology to the clinic.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.