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This Week in Nature: Jul 24, 2008

Nature this week has a series of articles looking at scientific and technological innovation in China. With its economy growing consistently by around 10% annually, China is on its way to surpassing established leaders like the US, Japan, and Germany. A news story looks at whether China can actually meet its goals in space exploration, environment, research, energy, and health, as well as address global climate change. Innovation is one of the biggest challenges. "You need a certain culture to support an innovative business environment," says Lan Xue, a science policy specialist at Tsinghua University, "and those things change much more slowly."

Two commentaries take a deeper look at the idea of innovation in China. One, by Xue, wonders how China -- and other developing countries -- can be innovative without caving to Western ideas of scientific merit, and another interviews Chinese businesspeople and scientists on their ideas of what it will take for China to become a science superpower. An essay says that the era of national science superpowers is over, due to the advent of big science and the push for commercialization.

Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have published results of a genome-wide recombination map in yeast. The maps are the "first high-resolution, genome-wide characterization of the multiple outcomes of recombination in any organism," and score 52,000 polymorphisms that capture 6,289 recombination events, including crossovers, crossover-associated gene conversion, and non-crossover gene conversion. The work "allowed them to address several long-standing issues in meiotic recombination," says a related News and Views article.

Martin Beye and colleagues have found a new gene in the honeybee sex-determining pathway called feminizer (fem), located 12 kilobases upstream of the complementary sex determiner (csd) gene. Using RNAi, they show that knocking down the female-specific fem splice variant results in male bees, indicating that the fem product is required for entire female development.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.