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This Week in Science : Apr 13, 2012

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University report in a paper published online in advance in Science this week on their use of "the histone mark H3K4me1 to analyze gain and loss of enhancer activity genome wide in primary colon cancer lines relative to normal colon crypts." Taking this approach, the researchers identified thousands of variant enhancer loci, comprising a signature that they say is "predictive of the in vivo colon cancer transcriptome."

David Haussler and his colleagues at University of California, Santa Cruz, discuss integrating genome sequence information using computer-aided models of genetics, phylogenetics, and human disease genetics, among other things. "Unleashed on a rapidly increasing sample of the planet's 1030 organisms, these analyses will have an impact on diverse fields of science while providing an extraordinary new window into the story of life," Haussler and his colleagues write.

Brian Munsky at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, MIT's Gregor Neuert, and University Medical Center Utrecht's Alexander van Oudenaarden discuss the noisy nature of gene expression. "When integrated with discrete stochastic models, measurements of cell-to-cell variability provide a sensitive 'fingerprint' with which to explore fundamental questions of gene regulation," the authors write in this week's Science.

Elsewhere in this week's issue, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Sergej Djuranovic, Ali Nahvi, and Rachel Green examine the kinetics of translation, deadenylation, and decay in miRNA-mediated gene silencing. Using a Drosophila S2 cell-based controllable expression system, Djuranovic, Nahvi, and Green found that "mRNAs with both natural and engineered 3' untranslated regions with miRNA target sites are first subject to translational inhibition, followed by effects on deadenylation and decay." The team also used a natural translational elongation stall "to show that miRNA-mediated silencing inhibits translation at an early step, potentially translation initiation," it reports.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.