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This Week in Nature: May 17, 2007

Nature kicks off its coverage of philanthropies funding biomedical research with an editorial welcoming the diverse funding to the field. A series of news features looks deeper into this growing trend. These philanthropists, including the Stowers, the Gateses, the Wellcome Trust, and the Howard Hughes institutes fill the void, says this article, left by "flat" federal funding, but sometimes this new money comes with business-like control.

This news story then describes the highs and lows of partnering up with foundations. A Q&A with Tadataka Yamada, the executive director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program, discusses how the foundation spreads its funds around. A figure showing the who's who of philanthropies is also included.

Also in the news, scientists at the Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor last week forecasted the end of the HapMap project. Though the project has been successful, new technologies such as faster and cheaper sequencers may be rendering the project obsolete.

Studying the double-fertilization process in plants, researchers led by Moritz Nowack found that only one male gamete is needed to begin embryogenesis and seed development if the maternal endosperm mechanism is bypassed. Skirting the paternal contribution to the endosome and to genomic imprinting underscores the complex interaction of parental genomes in plant development, according to this News and Views article.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.