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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

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.