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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

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.