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This Week in Nature: Sep 13, 2007

In Nature, an editorial argues that in the age of 'omic science and increasingly interdisciplinary research, the peer-review process for grant applications at the NIH needs a complete overhaul.

A commentary adds fuel to the fire of today's funding problems for biomedical research, in which Brian Martinson debated the question, "What is it that poses the most potent threat to the future of biomedical research — a lack of resources, or our failure to manage the level of competition for available resources?"

Researchers at Emory have resolved the structure of one DNA methyltransferase, Dnmt3a, in a complex with its regulatory factor Dnmt3L, confirming that successful DNA methylation must have Dnmt3a and Dnmt3L working as a team. A related commentary says, "The central Dnmt3a dimer in the tetramer can methylate two CG dinucleotides in one binding event, and that it preferentially methylates pairs of CGs that are 8-10 base pairs apart, with other CGs in between remaining unmethylated."


The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.