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This Week in Science: Sep 4, 2015

In this week's Science, a trio of researchers discusses how the emergence of infectious diseases often results from interactions between multiple diverse species and the importance of studying ecological interactions in addressing such diseases. Community ecology can help identify "the factors governing complex assemblages of multiple hosts, parasites, and vectors, and reveal how processes link across scales from individual hosts to regions," and boost control strategies by uncovering what drives heterogeneities among individuals, species, and regions. The authors also offer examples of how community ecology has enhanced disease management.


And in Science Signaling, a team of US and Chinese scientists report new details on a pair of proteins involved in melanoma growth and drug resistance, showing how stimulating one or blocking the other might help combat resistant tumors. The researchers found that Cdh1, a protein involved in cell cycle regulation and a putative tumor suppressor, is downregulated in melanoma tumors, while a cell survival protein, PAX3, is upregulated. In cell culture experiments, the investigators found Cdh1 acts to suppress PAX3 to control skin cell growth. They then extended the findings to tumor-bearing mice, discovering that deleting Cdh1 in melanoma cells enhanced tumor growth, and that its restoration sensitized the cancer to chemotherapy. The study's authors suggest that increasing Cdh1 or blocking PAX3 may help in the treatment of drug-resistant melanoma.

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The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.