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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

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.