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This Week in Science: Jan 6, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in Science this week, the University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus' Sandra Garrett and Joshua Rosenthal show that extensive mRNA editing "underlies temperature adaptation in K+ channels from polar octopuses." The team found that one particular mRNA editing site, which recodes an isoleucine to a valine in the ion channel's pore, "greatly accelerates gating kinetics by destabilizing the open state," in both Antarctic and Arctic species.

Elsewhere, an international team led by investigators at China's Tsinghua University reports crystal structures for an 11.5-repeat TAL effector in both DNA-free and DNA-bound states, presenting structural evidence for "DNA recognition by TAL effectors."

In a related, but separate study, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Iowa State University report a crystal structure for the TAL effector PthXo1 bound to its DNA target. "Containing several RVDs [repeat variable diresidues] and non-canonical associations, the structure illustrates the basis of TAL effector-DNA recognition," the authors write.

Over in Science Careers, Beryl Lieff Benderly this week follows what she called "academia's crooked money trail," reviewing Georgia State University economist Paula Stephan's new book, How Economics Shapes Science. "If you want to understand what is really happening in American academic science today, here's my advice: Read this enlightening book," Benderly says.

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.