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This Week in Science: Jan 10, 2014

In this week's Science, researchers from the Karolinska Institute report the results of an analysis of genome-wide allelic expression patterns in individual cells of mouse preimplantation embryos. They found "abundant" monoallelic expression of autosomal genes and that the expression of the two alleles occurs independently. The monoallelic expression appeared random and dynamic, and similar expression patterns were observed in mature cells, leading the team to conclude that "independent and stochastic allelic transcription generates abundant random monoallelic expression in the mammalian cell."

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Meanwhile, in Science Translational Medicine, an international team of scientists publish data indicating that a gene already implicated in cancer, arthritis, and neurological disease may also be involved in allergies. Using RNAi interference to knock down transcription factors that regulate cytokine interleukin-13 followed by expression analysis, the researchers identified a T helper 2 cell module containing a gene that, when deleted, decreased signs of allergy. The gene was also found to be required by dendritic cells for activating T cells, making it a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target.