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This Week in Nature: May 9, 2019

In this week's Naturea multi-institute team of researchers presents a next-generation characterization of the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE), a large-scale collection of gene expression, genotype, and drug sensitivity data for human cancer cell lines. The scientists expand the CCLE's characterizations to include genetic, RNA splicing, DNA methylation, histone H3 modification, microRNA expression, and reverse-phase protein array data for 1,072 cell lines from individuals of various lineages and ethnicities. Integrating the data with functional characterizations reveals potential targets for cancer drugs and associated biomarkers, and the new datasets are expected to help accelerate cancer research using model cancer cell lines, the authors write.

Also in Nature, a group of Chinese bioethicists call for a re-examination of scientific ethics in China following the highly publicized genetic modification of fetuses in that nation last year. They cite a lack of public awareness of genome editing, a growing focus among scientists on fame and profit over "a genuine desire for discovery or a wish to help people and society," and insufficient regulations as contributing to the unethical or illegal use of emerging technologies in the Asian nation, and propose a number of steps that may help curb such activity. "In our view, China is at a crossroads," the scientists write in their comment piece. "The government must make substantial changes to protect others from the potential effects of reckless human experimentation."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.