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This Week in Nature: Oct 23, 2008

A news feature in Nature this week looks at the history of defining scientific terms like paradigm shift, complexity, and epigenetics. "Popular though they are, not everyone agrees on what is meant by 'paradigm shift' or 'tipping point'," the story says.

A news and views Q&A tackles the difference between metabonomics and metabolomics. In metabonomics, the "focus is on understanding systemic change through time in complex multicellular systems" whereas metabolomics aims to characterize and quantify all the small molecules in such a sample.

The Cancer Genome Atlas research consortium has published interim data on the genomic characterization of human glioblastomas. Their analysis consisted of copy number, gene expression, and DNA methylation changes in 206 glioblastomas and sequence changes in 91 of these; they found new roles for ERBB2, NF1, and TP53, as well as frequent mutations of the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase regulatory subunit gene, PIK3R1. A consortium of scientists also published results of a collaborative study to discover somatic mutations in 188 human lung adenocarcinomas. Sequencing 623 related or potentially related genes found more than 1,000 somatic mutations across the samples and identified 26 genes that are mutated at "significantly high frequencies," says the abstract.

Finally, a team of researchers demonstrated the existence of many naturally occurring miRNA targets in the amino acid coding sequence, and not in the 3' untranslated region, of the mouse transcription factors Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2. miR-134, miR-296, and miR-470 target these coding sequences in various combinations and lead to phenotypic changes consistent with embryonic stem cell differentiation.


The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.