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This Week in Nature: Sep 22, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, an international team led by investigators at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences in Tehran, Iran, report their use of "homozygosity mapping, exon enrichment and next-generation sequencing" on 136 consanguineous families with autosomal-recessive intellectual disability. The authors report "mutations in 23 genes previously implicated in intellectual disability or related neurological disorders, as well as single, [probable] disease-causing variants in 50 novel candidate genes."

Elsewhere, MIT's Mohan Viswanathan and Leonard Guarente show that the reported 15 percent to 50 percent extension of lifespan observed in Caenorhabditis elegans sir-2.1 "was overestimated in a high-copy sir-2.1 transgene-containing worm strain because of an unlinked mutation."

In this week's issue, reader Alfred Zarb from New South Wales suggests in a letter to the journal that, to improve scientific integrity, "it would help to demand and monitor integrity in scientists and managers from the outset" — that is, Zarb says that integrity should be a "primary criteria for the employment of both scientists and managers."

This week in Nature Biotechnology, a team led by investigators at the J. Craig Venter Institute report their use of reads from single Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus cells "to assemble a genome from a single cell of an uncultivated SAR324 clade of Deltaproteobacteria." Overall, the JCVI-led team says its "approach enables acquisition of genome assemblies for individual uncultivated bacteria using only short reads, providing cell-specific genetic information absent from metagenomic studies."

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.