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This Week in Nature: Sep 29, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, researchers in Japan and Spain show that expression of the rice FLOWERING LOCUS T ortholog Hd3a "induces strict short-day potato types to tuberize in long days." Further, the team shows that "potato floral and tuberization transitions are controlled by two different FT-like paralogs," StSP3D and StSP6A, which respond to independent environmental cues.

Over in Nature Genetics, Yale University's Vincent Lynch and his colleagues report their use of comparative RNA-seq to identify 1,532 genes "recruited into endometrial expression in placental mammals, indicating that the evolution of pregnancy was associated with a large-scale rewiring of the gene regulatory network," they say. Lynch et al. add that around 13 percent of those genes "are within 200 kb of a Eutherian-specific transposable element" — transposons that "directly bind transcription factors essential for pregnancy and coordinately regulate gene expression in response to progesterone and cAMP."

In a news feature appearing in this week's issue, Nature's Heidi Ledford proposes "four ways to fix the clinical trial," including recruiting patients early on, utilizing phase 0 testing, improving preclinical models, and performing more adaptive trials. The University of Chicago's Richard Schilsky tells Nature that "there's not going to be a single solution because it's a multifactorial process." He adds that "everybody who is a stakeholder in the clinical-trial process has to contribute to the solutions."

Elsewhere in the issue, Nature says in an editorial that Canada's practice of protecting the names of scientists who are found guilty of midconduct takes "privacy concerns too far." The journal adds:

Taxpayers have a right to know about instances in which their money has been misused. Research misconduct can affect the reliability of the scientific literature, and other scientists and journal editors have a clear interest in knowing about it. And the government may be failing to protect its own interests if the names of parties disciplined by one branch are not available to others.
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.