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This Week in Science: Mar 30, 2013

In this week's Science, four articles discuss the genomics of cancer. A team from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center suggests that grouping cancer-associated genes by their function can help simplify the complexity of data from genome studies, while a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher discusses ways to use whole-genome sequencing data diagnostically and in the development of personalized therapies. A Harvard Medical School team presents an overview of epigenetic regulation of cellular fates and the shared mechanisms of differentiation of healthy and cancerous cells. Finally, a University of Helsinki duo "call[s] for the international development of standards to facilitate the clinical use of germline information arising from diagnostic cancer genome sequencing."

Also in Science, researchers from Stanford University report on the development of a new genetic circuit based on changing the structure of DNA. The team created a three-terminal device architecture that uses bacteriophage serine integrases to "control the flow of RNA polymerase along DNA. Integrase-mediated inversion or deletion of DNA-encoding transcription terminators or a promoter modulate transcription rates," as they write in their paper. The researchers say that the work enables the engineering of amplifying logic gates to control transcription rates within and across various organisms.