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This Week in Nature: Jun 3, 2010

In Nature this week, an international research team reports its draft genome sequence of the filamentous seaweed Ectocarpus siliculosus. The team performed paired-end genome and cDNA sequencing on E. siliculosus strain Ec 32. They performed annotations using an optimized version of the EuGène program. "The Ectocarpus genome sequence represents an important step towards developing this organism as a model species, providing the possibility to combine genomic and genetic approaches to explore these and other aspects of brown algal biology further," the authors write.

Researchers identify three new susceptibility loci for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in the genome-wide association study they've published in Nature Genetics this week. The team examined 464,328 autosomal SNPs in 1,583 cases and 1,894 controls, and found that TNFRSF19, MDS1-EVI1, and the CDKN2A-CDKN2B gene cluster were associated with NPC. "Our findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of NPC," the authors write.

An international research team presents results from their "genome-wide association study of 107 phenotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana inbred lines" in this week's Nature. The authors suggest that their work demonstrates the power of the GWAS approach, and establishes the feasibility of GWAS in Arabidopsis.

A Nature editorial this week examines the values that academics — and institutions — apparently place on the importance of teaching versus research. Building off of a Nature Education survey conducted last year of 450 university-level faculty members from more than 30 countries, the editorial suggests that while individuals appear to value their teaching as much as — and sometimes even more than — their research duties, institutions, according to survey respondents, do not. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents "indicated that they considered their teaching responsibilities to be just as important as their research — and 16 percent said teaching was more important," the Nature team writes, adding that the survey showed a "pervasive perception that academic institutions — and the prevailing rewards structure of science — value research far more than teaching."

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.