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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.