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This Week in Nature: Mar 20, 2008

This issue is all about water, the growing global concerns over access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and the effects of global climate change on water as resource. One of the related news items focuses on how biotech can help.

In collaboration with scientists at the Weizmann Institute, the University of Washington's David Baker used computational design techniques to create eight enzymes to catalyze the Kemp elimination, a model reaction for proton transfer from carbon. The work suggests that computational protein design and directed evolution together can lead to many new synthetic catalysts.

The International Stem Cell Forum met in February to discuss the creation of stem cell banks. A News Q&A with Leszek Borysiewicz, head of the UK Medical Research Council, looks at the practical issues behind such effort and why stem cell banks will be important for future clinical applications.

Harvard's Steve Elledge and Wade Harper used an RNAi screen to find that RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) is degraded by Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein complex containing the F-box protein beta-TRCP (SCFbeta-TRCP). From their study, they found that beta-TRCP controls both neural differentiation and oncogenic transformation through degrading REST.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.