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This Week in Science: Feb 15, 2008

Science's Gonzo Scientist column returns with John Bohannon recounting the "Dance Your PhD" competition that took place in Austria. The online version goes into more detail -- each contestant also had time to describe his or her PhD work -- and has video. You don't want to miss Josef Penninger ("Analysis of thymic nurse cells in the chicken") doing the chicken dance.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, introduced mitochondrial DNA mutations into female mouse germ lines to see if the mutation would be passed on to subsequent mouse generations. Both mutations they report on affected oxidative phosphorylation. The more severe of the two, the ND6 mutation, was eliminated within four generations of oocyte maturation, while the less severe CO1 mutation stayed. A related Perspectives article ponders the possible mechanisms for this, including autophagy and negative selection.

Two UC Berkeley scientists report finding cadherin genes in the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis at the same numbers as in complex metazoans. They suggest that this amount of diverse cadherins supports the idea that cadherins contributed to the origins of metazoans.

While not systems biology-related, this is still pretty cool: astronomers found a Jupiter and Saturn analog in a solar system that looks like a scaled-down version of ours. "[It] bears a remarkable similarity to our own solar system," the authors write.

 

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.