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This Week in Nature: Aug 2, 2012

A team led by investigators at the University of Rochester in New York this week show that "nuclear-retained transcripts containing expanded CUG-CUGexp — repeats are unusually sensitive to antisense silencing," and that, in a transgenic mouse model of myotonic dystrophy type 1, the systematic administration of antisense oligonucleotides causes "a rapid knockdown of CUGexpRNA in skeletal muscle, correcting the physiological, histopathologic and transcriptomic features of the disease." Overall, as the Rochester-led team reports in Nature, "these results provide a general strategy to correct RNA gain-of-function effects and to modulate the expression of expanded repeats, lncRNAs and other transcripts with prolonged nuclear residence."

In separate but related papers published online in advance this week, two groups discuss the Arabidopsis root microbiome. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill's Derek Lundberg and his colleagues used pyrosequencing of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene to investigate more than 600 Arabidopsis thaliana plants, and "to test the hypotheses that the root rhizosphere and endophytic compartment microbiota of plants grown under controlled conditions in natural soils are sufficiently dependent on the host to remain consistent across different soil types and developmental stages, and sufficiently dependent on host genotype to vary between inbred Arabidopsis accessions." Meantime, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research's Davide Bulgarelli et al. "show that the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, grown in different natural soils under controlled environmental conditions, are preferentially colonized by Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria, and each bacterial phylum is represented by a dominating class or family." Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on these studies.

And in a Nature Jobs column, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research's William Neaves discusses a different kind of roots — from which research misconduct is born. Neaves outlines his recommendations for mentors who wish to prevent misconduct among their trainees. PIs, he says, ought to "understand the motivation behind some acts of misconduct, and the steps they can take to make sure that misguided trainees don't commit scientific fraud."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.