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This Week in Nature: Sep 25, 2008

In early online publication, scientists found that in Arabidopsis thaliana, regions of DNA methylation are deficient in histone variant H2A.Z. Mutation of the MET1 DNA methyltransferase, which causes both losses and gains of DNA methylation, leads to opposite changes in H2A.Z deposition, whereas mutation of the PIE1 subunit of the Swr1 complex that deposits H2A.Z leads to genome-wide hypermethylation.

Several news features cover what the US presidential candidates have in mind for science and technology development if they hit office. One looks at their past accomplishments. In another Obama answered 18 science-related questions posed by Nature in writing; while McCain's campaign declined, his ideas are presented from previous speeches. Two more look at how the new president will choose the heads of the various science-related agencies and the presidential science advisor.

Bill Hahn led work that used loss-of-function screens to find that expression of CDK8 drives tumorigenesis in colon cancer. Rene Bernards pens a related News and Views that takes on how cross-talk between two pathways causes this dysregulation.

Finally, a Q&A checks in on metagenomics. From defining the field to addressing how it can be used to find genetic diversity, the Q&A clears things up for this sometimes nebulous "culture-independent, molecular way of analysing environmental samples of cohabiting microbial populations."


The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.