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This Week in Nature: Dec 11, 2014

In Nature this week, a team led by scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute report on the discovery of multiple rare genetic mutations that increase the risk of early-onset heart attack. Using pooled data analyzing the protein-encoding regions of more than 9,000 genomes, the team found mutations in the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene and in the apolipoprotein A-V gene. Carriers of the mutations had elevated levels of plasma LDL cholesterol and plasma triglycerides, respectively, and were more likely to experience heart attacks earlier in their lives than non-carriers.

And in Nature Biotechnology, Genentech researchers publish the results of an RNA sequencing and single-nucleotide polymorphism array analysis of 675 human cancer cell lines, and subsequent analyses of transcriptome features including gene expression, mutations, gene fusions, and expression of non-human sequences. Of the 2,200 gene fusions cataloged, more than 1,400 consist of genes not previously found in fusions, providing leads for further investigation. The team also describes multiple genome and transcriptome features in a pathway-based approach to enhance prediction of response to targeted therapeutics. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.