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This Week in Nature: Nov 29, 2007

In Nature, an editorial opines that, even in light of the recent cell reprogramming breakthrough now is not the time to stop human embryonic stem cell research. "These scientists are not oblivious to the ethical issues and they are not merely indulging personal fascination," writes the author.

In books and arts, more on stem cells. Christopher Thomas Scott, director of Stanford's Program on Stem Cells in Society, reviews "Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical and Political Issues." He talks about the challenges to actually presenting a dynamic field such as stem cell research, and though this book does a good job, some of the information might need to be rewritten very shortly.

In an essay about scientific ethics, Mary Warnock lays out the difference between public and private morality. Just like legislating the issue of IVF, embryonic stem cell research, therapeutic cloning, and the construction of mixed-species embryos for research are currently areas that need careful consideration when it comes to making laws. "But it is essential that ignorance and prejudice should not be allowed to dictate the outcome," she writes. Bitesize Bio has something to say about all of the above.

Researchers at The Simons Center for Systems Biology in Princeton found that p53 has been found to play a role in fertility in mice. The authors found that p53 regulates transcription of the mouse Lif gene, which is important for embryo implantation in the uterus, and that in p53-deficient female mice, expression levels are reduced about fourfold.

A team of scientists at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences and Rockefeller University have resolved the structure of the yeast nuclear pore complex using a combination of proteomic and experimental data. Two papers go into how they used proteomic modeling data to resolve the structure of the NPC, which consists of 456 constituent proteins.


The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.