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This Week in Nature: Jul 19, 2007

In June, the US patent office launched a pilot program called "Peer to Patent" that lends an open-source approach to patent-granting, reports Nature. The pilot program is focusing on information technology for now, but may soon expand to include biotechnology patent applications.

A News and Views article says a few recent stem cell studies passed the gold standard for pluripotency — they contributed to all cell types, even the germ line. Marius Werning and his coworkers reprogrammed fibroblasts to be pluripotent by in vitro ectopic expression of Oct4, Sox3, c-Myc, and Klf4 and Keisuke Okita and his colleagues found that selecting for Nanog expression increased stem cell-like gene expression and DNA methylation patterns.

Daniel Gudbjartsson and his colleagues used a genome-wide association study, followed by replication studies, to search for the genetic basis of atrial fibrillation. In the study populations, they found two sequence variants linked to fibrillation on chromosome 4q25.

Kevin Padian, from the University of California, Berkeley, reviews three books based on the 2005 Dover trial. He calls all three "entertaining and informative reads," but Padian adds that Edward Humes' Monkey Girl is the most comprehensive.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.