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This Week in Science: Jul 20, 2012

An international team led by investigators at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany show that the orphan toll-like receptor TLR13 "in mice recognizes a conserved 23S ribosomal RNA sequence that is the binding site of macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin group antibiotics, including erythromycin, in bacteria." In a Science paper published online in advance this week, the researchers add that their results point to "both a natural TLR13 ligand and specific mechanisms of antibiotic resistance as potent bacterial immune evasion strategy, avoiding recognition via TLR13."

In another Science paper published online in advance, an international team led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, shows that, in Drosophila, there is "a consistent, genome-scale increase in Pol II activity at the promoters of male X-linked genes." The team adds that its finding provides "insights into how global modulation of chromatin structure by histone acetylation contributes to the precise control of Pol II function."

Over in this week's issue, Qi Zhou and Doris Bachtrog from the University of California, Berkeley, show that "sex-specific adaptation drives early sex chromosome evolution in Drosophila." Using whole-genome and -transcriptome sequencing, Zhou and Bachtrog found "massive degeneration of the neo-Y, that male-beneficial genes on the neo-Y are more likely to undergo accelerated protein evolution, and that neo-Y genes evolve biased expression toward male-specific tissues — the shrinking gene content of the neo-Y becomes masculinized."

And in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and at the Washington, DC-based Genetic Alliance "describe a cryptographic method for returning research results to individuals who participate in clinical studies." The team adds that "controlled use of this method, which relaxes the typical anonymization guarantee, can ensure that clinically actionable results reach participants while also addressing most privacy concerns."

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.