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This Week in Science: Nov 7, 2008

Today's Science has a special section and articles galore on the link between genetics and behavior. An editorial tackles the "multicomponent" nature of neural circuits while several reviews explore the interaction of social information and gene expression in the brain, how oxytocin and vasopressin genetic variation contribute to receptor differences, and the genetic basis of mating behavior. A perspective looks at the history of using forward genetic screens to explore the genetics behind the circadian clock in Drosophila and mouse, while a policy forum article checks in on the Human Variome Project.

A news story reports on last week's NHGRI meeting, where about 40 scientists and ethicists debated how to present sequencing data to the public. While everyone agreed that it was best to use the term 'geographic ancestry' instead of 'race,' says the story, "specifying such ancestries is also a minefield. 'Amerindian,' for example, is offensive to Native Americans ... 'Caucasian' is also unacceptable because it implies racial rather than geographic ancestry."

In two papers, scientists have converted mouse skin cells to iPS cells while not using viral vectors. In one, work led by Konrad Hochedlinger at Harvard used nonintegrating adenoviruses to expose adult skin and liver cells to the four transcription factor genes Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc. In another, Shinya Yamanaka led a team that used a plasmid transfection procedure to introduce transcription factor genes into mouse embryonic fibroblasts to make pluripotent cells.

Two more studies used large-scale tools to track protein stability genome-wide. In one, Steve Elledge used flow cytometry combined with microarray technology to monitor the stability of 8,000 human proteins and identify proteasome substrates. In a complementary study, Elledge used stability profiling to screen about 350 potential substrates of the Skp1–cullin–F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase in mammalian cells. He found that most known SCF targets and many unknown substrates are involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, and signaling pathways.


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.