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This Week in Nature: Nov 3, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, a team led by investigators at the National Cancer Institute shows that "CTCF-promoted RNA polymerase II pausing links DNA methylation to splicing," thus, it says, providing "a mechanistic basis for developmental regulation of splicing outcome through heritable epigenetic marks."

Researchers in China report loci and variants associated with schizophrenia susceptibility this week in Nature Genetics. A team led by investigators at Peking University presents a genome-wide association study in which researchers identified two susceptibility loci for schizophrenia at 6p21-p22.1. Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and elsewhere present a GWAS in which they found that "common variants on 8p12 and 1q24.2 confer risk of schizophrenia."

In another Nature Genetics paper, a public-private team led by investigators at Pfizer reports its use of exome sequencing on 22 gastric cancer samples, in which they found "genes involved in chromatin modification to be commonly mutated." Further, in a downstream validation study, the Pfizer-led team confirmed frequent mutations in ARID1A. "Clinically, ARID1A alterations were associated with better prognosis in a stage-independent manner," the authors write.

Over in this week's issue, Nature notes that according to an UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills report, "the United Kingdom was second only to the United States in terms of total scientific-paper citations last year. … In 2010, UK papers had 3.46 million citations; those from the United States had 13.2 million."

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.