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This Week in Nature: Sep 4, 2008

In early online publication, UCLA researchers have constructed a global map of human genetic variation using large-scale genotyping data. Looking across a sample of 3,000 European individuals genotyped at over 500,000 SNPs each, they were able to draw a geographical map that closely related genetic and geographic distances.

The current issue is all about data — large-scale amounts of it and the challenges of managing and making sense of it. In light of Google's tenth anniversary, a news story asks scientists for their ideas on what might be a similarly world-changing technology in the next ten years; genetic information and open content management make the list. David Goldston pens a column on the finding and making environmental data public in Washington, and two news features tackle the petabyte era and wiki pages for scientific research. A commentary says that big data sets require big management organizations and an essay explores the first human computers -- women at Harvard College who catalogued images of stars by eye. A feature takes a peek at the future of biocuration.

Two papers study how miRNAs work together to fine-tune gene expression by using a large-scale, quantitative technique to measure proteomic changes in both animals and mice. In both, scientists found that one miRNA can affect hundreds of different genes, but that each represses protein levels only slightly.

Researchers in Marseille have discovered a small, 50-nm virus that acts as a virophage in Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV), the largest known virus that grows only in amoeba. It uses the giant virus factory found in amoebae co-infected with APMV to grow. Of its 21 predicted protein-coding genes, three encode proteins derived from APMV, suggesting that virophages like Sputnik "could be a vehicle mediating lateral gene transfer between giant viruses," 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.