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A Genetics Gaffe

In a letter to Nature published in last week's print edition, Michael Eisen at the University of California, Berkeley, points out that DNA molecule illustration adorning the journal's September 9 cover is twisted backwards. "It could not escape my notice that your cover … is dominated by a DNA molecule with a pronounced left-handed helical twist," Eisen writes. "In the structure originally proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick in your pages, however, the chains of DNA follow paired right-handed helices." He suggests that the journal's editors display "this sketch of DNA, arguably the most iconic image ever published by Nature … prominently" in their office, so as to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Marc Abrahams at Improbable Research points to Tom Schneider's "The Left-Handed DNA Hall of Fame," which chronicles similar journal gaffes and advises readers how best to "flip" image files to ensure that the double-helix winds to the right. Schneider, a research biologist at the National Cancer Institute, says that "1997 and 1998 were bumper crop years" for these blunders, with 37 documented in each. In 2001, a record 105 spiral switch-ups were published, according to Schneider's count.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.