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This Week in Science: Aug 23, 2013

In Science this week, a team from the University of Sussex describe their identification of small open reading frames, or smORFs, that encode peptides that regulate calcium transport in the Drosophila heart — suggesting that such peptides should not be neglected in genomic studies. A previous report showed that peptides as short as 11 amino acids are translated and provide "essential functions" during insect development. Building off of this, the Sussex team identified the two peptides with cardiac function, noting that they appear conserved for more than 550 million years in a range of species. The findings indicate that smORFs may be a "fundamental genome component that should be studied systematically," the researchers say.

Also in Science, the journal's news department highlights the growing popularity of CRISPRs, or clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, among laboratories. CRISPR was first identified as a bacterial immune system in 2007, but has since been adopted as a genome-editing system that allows researchers to add, delete, activate or suppress specific genes within a genome. The article highlights various uses of the technology and its potential as a genome-editing tool. " Ultimately, CRISPR may take a place beside zinc fingers and TALENs, with the choice of editing tool depending on the particular application," Elizabeth Pennisi writes.

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

In a new poll, slightly more than half of US adults have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hill reports.

Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.