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This Week in Nature : Oct 20, 2011

Researchers in France this week identify a germline missense substitution in MITF, Mi-E318K, that "occurred at a significantly higher frequency" in patients affected with melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, or both, compared with controls. "Overall, Mi-E318K carriers had a higher than fivefold increased risk of developing melanoma, RCC or both cancers," the authors write in a paper published online in advance in Nature.

In another Nature advance online publication, Stanford University's Eric Greer and his colleagues discuss "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans." Speaking of the H3K4me3 methylation complex, Greer et al. say that "manipulation of specific chromatin modifiers only in parents can induce an epigenetic memory of longevity in descendants."

The University of Lausanne's Henrik Kaessmann and his colleagues report their "sequencing of polyadenylated RNA from six organs across ten species that represent all major mammalian lineages (placentals, marsupials and monotremes) and birds (the evolutionary outgroup), with the goal of understanding the dynamics of mammalian transcriptome evolution." Overall, Kaessmann et al. report having found that the "rate of gene expression evolution varies among organs, lineages and chromosomes, owing to differences in selective pressures: transcriptome change was slow in nervous tissues and rapid in testes, slower in rodents than in apes and monotremes, and rapid for the X chromosome right after its formation."

Over in Nature Reviews Cardiology, Duke University's Tariq Ahmad, Deepak Voora, and Richard Becker say that "until favorable, scientifically derived data are available, routine genetic testing for platelet responsiveness cannot be recommended for clinical decision-making." While the authors acknowledge data that show a robust "association between loss-of-function alleles of the CYP2C19 gene and adverse outcomes among high-risk patients treated with clopidogrel," they say that further trials are needed "to support a change in practice towards pharmacogenetic-based selection of antiplatelet therapy."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.