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This Week in Nature: Jan 24, 2008

In a News Q&A, reporter Declan Butler interviews Larry Brilliant, who is leading Google.org, a philanthropy whose aim is to fight emerging diseases, climate change, and poverty. With their 'Predict and Prevent' initiative, they hope to re-invent epidemiology -- especially when it comes to defending against lagging governmental responses to new disease outbreaks. "That's why we are supporting projects that use information technology to sift through news reports, blogs, electronic hospital records, and other sources, in multiple languages, to identify reports of disease before official government reports," Brilliant says.

Two scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center looked the amount of duplication that exists in current biomedical abstracts, being concerned with "the three major sins of modern publishing: duplication, co-submission, and plagiarism." A search of 7 million abstracts, using the text-matching software eTBLAST, revealed tens of thousands of highly similar articles. They say publishers and database-keepers are to blame, as well as scientists who repeatedly submit or plagiarize in their research.

NCI researchers working on transposons showed that in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, proteins called CENP-Bs bind to Tf2 and recruit enzymes known as histone deacetylases, which turn off Tf2 expression and prevent transposition. But CENP-Bs themselves are derived from transposable elements, so transposons are not necessarily always detrimental, says this News and Views article.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.