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This Week in Nature: May 3, 2007

In news today, Nature reports on a new protein research center opening in Denmark and funded by a major contribution from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Two of the expected five PIs have been named so far: Max Planck's Matthias Mann and Søren Brunak from the Technical University of Denmark.

Another news article waves a cautionary flag about superspeedy sequencing technology. A recent case in which a virus was tracked down with a 454 sequencer when medical experts were at a loss gives hope about faster pathogen discovery, the article says, but also "raises concerns that the ease with which such suspects can now be found could lead to researchers overlooking the need to firmly establish them as the cause of the disease in question."

A paper from lead authors Ellen Welch and Elisabeth Barton demonstrates a new chemical entity called PTC124 in nonsense-mediated cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases. "The selectivity of PTC124 for premature termination codons, its well characterized activity profile, oral bioavailability and pharmacological properties indicate that this drug may have broad clinical potential for the treatment of a large group of genetic disorders with limited or no therapeutic options," the authors write in the abstract.

There's also a news and views piece from Anton Schmitz and Michael Famulok, both from the University of Bonn, related to that paper on using small molecules to avoid premature termination in protein translation without messing up the signal from real stop codons.


The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.