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This Week in Nature: Aug 20, 2009

In Nature this week, a group of scientists led by Nagoya University's Motoyuki Ashikari used QTL analysis and positional cloning to find that the ethylene response factors SNORKEL1 and SNORKEL2 give deepwater rice its ability to adapt to flooding. In deep water, ethylene accumulates in the plant and induces expression of these two genes, they say. The products of those genes then trigger "remarkable internode elongation." A perspective has more details.

Researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in San Diego have taken a global look at genome rearrangements in S. cerevisiae in a paper also published this week. They compared the ability of duplicated regions to that of single-copy sequences to engage in large chromosomal rearrangements and found that certain pathways, "including SGS1, TOP3, RMI1, SRS2, RAD6, SLX1, SLX4, SLX5, MSH2, MSH6, RAD10 and the DNA replication stress checkpoint requiring MRC1 and TOF1," prevented rearrangements in duplicated parts of the genome. "This explains how extensive genome instability is prevented in eukaryotic cells whose genomes contain numerous divergent repeated sequences," they write in the abstract.

A Nature Methods paper out of Gene Myers' lab presents a digital atlas of C. elegans at its newly hatched, first larval stage at single-cell resolution. He and his team annotated 357 nuclei out of the 558 that are present at this stage, and they say that the map "will allow high-throughput single-cell analyses of the post-embryonic worm, such as gene expression analysis."

A technical report in Nature Medicine offers a new microwell array chip-based system to identify and isolate single antigen-specific antibody-secreting cells from human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Scientists at the University of Toyama in Japan, showed that their system could identify ASCs for hepatitis B and influenza viruses from human peripheral blood lymphocytes and that the method can be used to find antibody-secreting cells for many antigens on the same chip.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.