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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

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.