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This Week in Science : Mar 30, 2012

In this week's Science, investigators at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, and at the Queen's University in Belfast report on "a role for the Arabidopsis RNA silencing enzyme DICER-LIKE 4, DCL4, in transcription termination of an endogenous Arabidopsis gene, FCA." The John Innes-Queen's University team says that DCL4 "promotes transcription termination of the Arabidopsis FCA gene, reducing the amount of aberrant RNA produced from the locus."

An interdisciplinary team from the University of California, San Diego, discusses the genetic organization of the human cerebral cortex in Science this week, saying that "boundaries of the genetic divisions [correspond] largely to meaningful structural and functional regions; however, the divisions [represent] previously undescribed phenotypes different from conventional (non-genetically based) parcellation systems."

Over in Science Translational Medicine, researchers in London discuss intratumor heterogeneity, saying that it "may contribute to this failure by initiating phenotypic diversity enabling drug resistance to emerge and by introducing tumor sampling bias." Further, the team considers how "envisaging tumor growth as a Darwinian tree with the trunk representing ubiquitous mutations and the branches representing heterogeneous mutations" could help researchers develop effective drugs and identify predictive biomarkers for response.

The Scan

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.

Estonian Biobank Team Digs into Results Return Strategies, Experiences

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics outline a procedure developed for individual return of results for the population biobank, along with participant experiences conveyed in survey data.

Rare Recessive Disease Insights Found in Individual Genomes

Researchers predict in Genome Medicine cross-population deletions and autosomal recessive disease impacts by analyzing recurrent nonallelic homologous recombination-related deletions.

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.