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This Week in Nature: Feb 21, 2008

In Nature this week, a special Insight looks at cardiovascular disease. Several articles examine potential new therapies, including using stem cells for treating heart disease, identifying biomarkers, and early detection using new imaging techniques.

Cornell geneticists used sequencing data from more than 10,000 genes obtained from 20 Europeans and 15 African-Americans to find that Europeans carry proportionally more mutations that could reduce fitness. A news article looks at how, and if, these mutations are actually relevant to disease susceptibility while Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future wonders what this knowledge might mean once we can readily sequence genomes.

At the University of Michigan, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues performed a sweeping analysis of genetic variation, including SNP and CNV coverage, in a worldwide sample of 29 populations. States Rosenberg in another article, "Now that we have the technology to look at thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of genetic markers, we can infer human population relationships and ancient migrations at a finer level of resolution than has previously been possible."

A team of UW Madison scientists have discovered an important protein in the oxidative stress pathway. Named Star-PAP, this protein, they found, adds a tail onto mRNAs that serves to turn them on and off; it also makes up part of a pathway that contains a genetic "on-off" switch for a key protein known as heme oxygenase-1, a molecule that protects cells from oxidative stress.


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.