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This Week in PLoS: Apr 13, 2009

In PLoS Biology, lead author Nikolay Ninov from the Instituto de Biología Molecular de Barcelona reports on a study of cell cycle and growth in Drosophila abdominal cells. These histoblast cells provided a physiological setting that allowed the scientists to elucidate "several critical developmental signaling pathways (including signaling via ecdysone, the EGF receptor, and PI 3-kinase) that regulate and coordinate cell growth and division cycles during these different types of cell-cycle phenomena," the authors write.

A paper from senior author Akhilesh Pandey in PLoS Medicine describes the need for a central repository for cancer biomarkers, with a proof of principle done for pancreatic cancer. Pandey's team "carried out a comprehensive literature survey to systematically catalog the overexpressed genes/proteins," the authors write. "Our objective was to develop a compendium of potential biomarkers that could be systematically validated by the pancreatic cancer community and serve as a prototype for similar efforts in other cancers." The authors note that the compendium they built is already being used by a group working to develop antibodies against 60 promising targets.

Lead author Christiane Stahl-Hennig has a paper in PLoS Pathogens on the use of synthetic double-stranded RNAs to induce cellular immune response to infections such as HIV, HPV, or TB in primates. Results indicated that "formulations involving synthetic dsRNA are promising candidates for development of novel vaccines," the authors write.

In PLoS One, a paper from senior author Jonas Blomberg at Uppsala University discusses new approaches to detecting orthoretroviral long terminal repeats. The researchers used hidden Markov models that "provided a novel broad range, repeat-independent, ab initio LTR detection, with prospects for greater generalisation, and insight into LTR structure," they report.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.