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This Week in Science: Oct 12, 2007

Science has their take on the recently awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. The winners faced grant rejection after grant rejection as they created the knockout mice that since "have allowed scientists to learn the roles of thousands of mammalian genes and provided laboratory models of human afflictions in which to test potential therapies."

Another news story highlights the effects and possible causes of chronic itch. For a while, the article says, itch was thought to be a slightly different form of pain. Both pain and itch sensations travel along C fibers from the periphery to the spinal cord, possibly explaining why something cannot be painful and itchy. At the 4th International Workshop for the Study of Itch, researchers presented possible treatments for chronic itch, the most promising of which are drugs targeting the κopioid receptors.

Researchers led by Daniel Rokhsar and Arthur Grossman sequenced, assembled, and analyzed the genome of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas. Using shotgun end-sequencing of plasmid and fosmid libraries, the scientists assembled about 1,500 scaffolds to generate the 121 megabase draft sequence, estimated to be 95 percent complete. Genes common to both Chlamydomonas and animals, such as centrioles, have mostly been lost form angiosperms. The researchers also note that Chlamydomonas has extensive metabolic flexibility.

Taking an unbiased metagenomic approach, Diana Cox-Foster led a group of scientists surveyed the microflora of honeybee hives affected by colony collapse disorder, normal hives, and imported royal jelly. Then, candidate pathogens were screened to see if they their association with the disorder was significant. The Israeli acute paralysis virus was strongly correlated with colony collapse disorder.

 

The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.