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This Week in Science: Apr 20, 2013

In Science this week, a team from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation reports on the discovery that the interaction between a microRNA known as let-7 and a gene called lin-41 is partly responsible for why aging neurons lose the ability to regenerate. The scientists found that in Caenorhabditis elegans, let-7 inhibits the expression of lin-41, which helps promote neuron regeneration in older anterior ventral microtubule neurons. In younger neurons, however, lin-41 appears to block let-7 expression. "This reciprocal inhibition ensures that axon regeneration is inhibited only in older neurons," the researchers write. "These findings show that a let-7–lin-41 regulatory circuit, which was previously shown to control timing of events in mitotic stem cell lineages, is reutilized in postmitotic neurons to control postdifferentiation events."

Meanwhile, in Science Translational Medicine, a team of academic and industry scientists publish details about a set of genetic signatures that may provide predictive information about breast cancer. As part of a competition with other groups, the researchers developed a new computational model for gene signature analysis, and trained it using genomic and clinical data from more than a thousand women diagnosed with breast cancer. They then tested it using a new dataset from 184 women breast cancer and found that it could predict patient survival compared with other entries in the competition.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.