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This Week in Nature: Jul 16, 2009

In early online publication in Nature this week, work led by Ruedi Aebersold's lab developed a method that the scientists hope will become a "cornerstone of quantitative biology and systems biology." Their mass spec-based method allowed them to count the average number of protein copies per cell in a population for 83 percent of the proteins in the proteome of Leptospira interrogans, a spirochete responsible for leptospirosis.

The big news in this week's Nature is the sequencing of the Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum genomes. The two flatworms cause the tropical disease schistosomiasis. The Schistosoma japonicum Genome Sequencing and Functional Analysis Consortium found that S. japonicum "can exploit host nutrients, neuroendocrine hormones, and signaling pathways for growth, development, and maturation," while others found that the S. mansoni genome encodes at least 11,809 genes. The BBC has the story here, and our sister publication, Genome Web Daily News, reports on the findings in length here.

In several technology features, Nathan Blow writes about the challenges of linking up protein-protein interactions into a functional network. Distinguishing weak interactions is difficult, says Mike Tyers, a systems biologist at the University of Edinburgh, and Yale's Mike Snyder thinks that embracing experimental diversity will help create more accurate maps from the complex systems biology data that's becoming more available. In the second feature, Blow takes a look at the building of the yeast interaction network.

In an article in Nature Biotechnology, Francesco De Rubertis and Roman Fleck of Index Ventures in Geneva and Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec AG in Hamburg, Germany, talk about the six secrets of success to building a sustainable biotechnology business. They involve selecting the right management team, being adaptable, considering timing, location, and cash, and above all, doing world-class science.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.