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This Week in Nature: Dec 8, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, the Centre for Genomic Regulation's Alejandro Burga, Olivia Casanueva, and Ben Lehner report their use of C. elegans as a model system to identity compensation mechanisms among genetic interaction networks that vary among individuals and influence mutation outcome. In the nematode, the CRG team found two: "First, feedback induction of an ancestral gene duplicate differs across individuals, with high expression masking the effects of a mutation. … Second, during normal embryonic development we find that there is substantial variation in the induction of molecular chaperones such as Hsp90," Burga et al. write. Overall, the team says its "model and methodology provide a framework for dissecting the causes of incomplete penetrance."

In a letter to Nature appearing in this week's issue, the University of Barcelona's Xavier Bosch says that "Europe must address research misconduct" like the US Office of Research Integrity of the National Science Foundation does, saying the current "the guidelines of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity make no detailed recommendations for dealing with fraudulent research."

This week in Nature Methods, a team led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics presents a counterselection-based recombineering method for the generation of "seamless, precisely mutated" bacterial artificial chromosomes. "Using this approach, we generated mutated TACC3 transgenes to identify phosphorylation-specific spindle defects after knockdown of endogenousTACC3 expression," the Max Planck team writes.

And in Nature Reviews Genetics, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor's Patricia Wittkopp and Gizem Kalay discuss the importance of cis-regulatory elements, saying that "despite the limited number of mechanistic studies published to date … studies of cis-regulatory divergence can address long-standing questions about the genetic mechanisms of phenotypic evolution."

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.