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This Week in Nature: Aug 14, 2008

In this issue, Nature checks in on carbon-free energy alternatives. JGI's Eddy Rubin takes a closer look at cellulosic biofuels in this review, and how genomics will help improve its prospects.

A review of Alison Phipps' book, Women in Science, Engineering and Technology: Three Decades of UK Initiatives, challenges past initiatives aimed at changing women, rather than changing the system. "Phipps assesses that the success of initiatives has been limited by focusing on helping women to survive and thrive in existing masculine environments, rather than challenging the underlying work culture and perception of the ideal scientist as a masculine figure: rational, competitive, independent and technically skilled."

Scientists have used a genome-wide RNAi screen in Drosophila to identify more than 100 host genes that are important for influenza virus infection. Three of these genes, they found, have homologues that play key roles in infection of human cells by H5N1 and H1N1 influenza A viruses. "This could accelerate the development of new classes of antiviral drugs," they say.

Researchers at UCSC have found that active hammerhead ribozymes, RNA molecules that can cleave other molecules like enzymes, are present in the 3' UTRs of rodent C-type lectin type II (Clec2) genes. Their work has identified an "unrecognized mechanism of post-transcriptional gene regulation" for Clec2 genes involved in bone remodeling and the immune response of many mammals, says the abstract.


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.