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This Week in Nature: Apr 2, 2009

Three out of five authors have retracted a paper they published in Nature in 2000 reporting a gene therapy treatment that led to remission of type 1 diabetes in mice. Lead author Hyun Chul Lee of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and two other authors said they could not reproduce the experiment's results, reports a story in The Boston Globe. Their work inserted a recombinant adeno-associated virus that expressed a single-chain insulin analogue into diabetic mice, which caused an observed remission of the disease.

In the current issue of Nature Methods, David Haussler presents the UCSC Cancer Genomics Browser, a suite of Web-based tools for visualizing and analyzing large-scale cancer genomics data. Working in partnership with clinicians at UCSF and Boston University, his team developed the browser "to extend and complement the UCSC Genome Browser."

In this week's issue of Nature, a column by David Goldston looks at how the Recovery Act is changing the way science and research agencies track spending. While the bill hopes to create and retain jobs in the near future, it's up to agencies to track where and how much of this new grant funding is associated with the creation of a new job. And many of them are doing so. Says Goldston, "The stimulus debate has underscored the importance of an oft-forgotten lesson in Washington: when you come up with a line of argument, think about what would happen if people actually believed you."

Work led by scientists at UCSD showed that the protein tyrosine phosphatase EYA induces DNA repair by dephosphorylating an H2AX carboxy-terminal tyrosine phosphate (Y142). This post-translational modification determines the relative recruitment of either DNA repair or pro-apoptotic factors to the tail of serine phosphorylated histone H2AX (gamma-H2AX), they say. Another paper looks at host-pathogen co-evolution in humans by studying HIV and HLA. Human leukocyte antigens present epitopes of HIV proteins on the surface of infected cells, which allows CD8+ T cells to kill them. After analyzing viral sequences and HLA alleles from more than 2,800 subjects, they found evidence of viral adaptation to these mutations, posing challenges for developing an effective vaccine.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.