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This Week in Nature: Aug 30, 2007

An editorial in this week's Nature points out that the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which Congress is expected to pass, excludes military personnel from its protection. Already, the editorial adds, the defense department discharges some employees without benefits if their health problems can be attributed to a genetic predisposition.

Another editorial encourages biologists to play well with physicists and cultivate two-way relationships where their collaborative research enlightens both the biologists and the physicists. "Otherwise, calling such work 'interdisciplinary' is little more than lip service," the editorial says.

John Atkins and Pavel Baranov write about the flexibility of the genetic code in a News and Views piece. In addition to the 20 common amino acids, a few others such as selenocysteine and pyrrolysine have been found encoded in a few genes, showing that there is more to the genetic code and codons than originally thought. Atkins and Baranov draw on Yan Zhang and Vadim Gladyshev's report in Nucleic Acids Research that identified a bacterium with an usually large proportion of proteins with selenocysteine and pyrrolysine.

In a paper, Perlegen's Kelly Frazer and collaborators report creating a genome-wide haplotype map of the common laboratory mouse from 8.27 million SNPs. The researchers hope that this map will provide insight into the evolutionary history of the lab mouse.


The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.