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This Week in Nature: Jun 19, 2008

An analysis of over 5,000 unique atomic structures has shown that the quaternary structure of homomers is conserved in over 70 percent of protein pairs with as little as 30 percent sequence identity. The work suggests that there are "well-defined evolutionary pathways" that proteins take to get to different quaternary structure types.

The European Commission's newly launched European Research Council announced its first round of grants last December, and this news piece looks at how the new funding body is living up to its stated goals. Modeled in some part after the US National Science Foundation, the ERC bases its funding awards not on nationality and politics, but on the quality of science behind the proposals.

Research out of the University of Rochester Medical Center has found that there are a large number of genes affected downstream of loss-of-function p53 and Ras activation that contribute to cancer. In mouse and human colon cells, scientists found 14 out of 24 "cooperation response genes" that contributed to tumor formation.

A group of researchers have sequenced the genome of the Florida lancelet Branchiostoma floridae, a species of amphioxus. The 520-megabase genome offers insight into chordate evolution. Comparing the genomes of three chordate groups, tunicates, lancelets, and vertebrates, allowed them to reconstruct the genome of the last common chordate ancestor as well as find evidence for two genome-wide duplications and subsequent reorganizations in the vertebrate lineage.


The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.