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Given a bounded sequence \omega of positive numbers and its associated unilateral weighted shift W_{\omega} acting on the Hilbert space \ell^2(\mathbb{Z}_+), we consider natural representations of W_{\omega} as a 2-variable weighted shift, acting on \ell^2(\mathbb{Z}_+^2). Alternatively, we seek to examine the various ways in which the sequence \omega can give rise to a 2-variable weight diagram. Our best (and more general) embedding arises from looking at two polynomials p and q nonnegative on a closed interval I in R_+ and the double-indexed moment sequence \{\int p(r)^k q(r)^{\ell} d\sigma(r)\}_{k,\ell \in \mathbb{Z}_+}, where W_{\omega} is assumed to be subnormal with Berger measure \sigma such that \supp \; \sigma \subseteq I; we call such an embedding a (p,q)-embedding of W_{\omega}. We prove that every (p,q)-embedding of a subnormal weighted shift W_{\omega} is (jointly) subnormal, and we explicitly compute its Berger measure. We apply this result to answer three outstanding questions: (i) Can the Bergman shift A_2 be embedded in a subnormal 2-variable spherically isometric weighted shift W_{(\alpha,\beta)}? If so, what is the Berger measure of W_{(\alpha,\beta)}? (ii) Can a contractive subnormal unilateral weighted shift be always embedded in a spherically isometric 2-variable weighted shift? (iii) Does there exist a hyponormal 2-variable weighted shift \Theta(W_{\omega}) (where \Theta(W_{\omega}) denotes the classical embedding of a hyponormal unilateral weighted shift W_{\omega}) such that some integer power of \Theta(W_{\omega}) is not hyponormal? As another application, we find an alternative way to compute the Berger measure of the Agler j-th shift A_{j} (j\geq 2). Our research uses techniques from the theory of disintegration of measures, Riesz functionals, and the functional calculus for the columns of the moment matrix associated to a polynomial embedding.

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