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Gene errors, electric cars — the week in infographics

The electric-car era

The age of the electric car is upon us. Earlier this year, the US automobile giant General Motors announced that it aims to stop selling petrol-powered and diesel models by 2035. Even without new policies or regulations, half of global passenger-vehicle sales in 2035 will be electric, according to the consultancy BloombergNEF in London. And that will require major innovations in electric-vehicle batteries.

Going electric: a graph that show the projected raise in sales of battery electric vehicles up until 2040.

Source: BloombergNEF. Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 (BNEF, 2021)

Autocorrect errors rife in genes

Five years after a study showed that autocorrect problems were widespread in genetics, the academic literature is still littered with error-riddled spreadsheets. The long-standing issue often occurs when the abbreviated form of a gene’s name is incorrectly recognized as a date and is reformatted by the spreadsheet programs Excel or Google Sheets. An analysis now finds that almost one-third of more than 11,000 articles with supplementary Excel gene lists published between 2014 and 2020 contained gene-name errors.

A GROWING PROBLEM. The proportion of papers with gene-name errors created by spreadsheet autocorrect functions is increasing.

Source: Abeysooriya, M., Soria, M., Kasu, M. S. & Ziemann, M. PLoS Comput. Biol. 17, e1008984 (2021).

Your villi on high-fructose corn syrup

Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) — found in many sweetened drinks and foods — is implicated in diet-induced obesity. Research published this week proposes that HFCS drives an increase in the surface area of the gut that is associated with enhanced absorption of dietary nutrients, and with weight gain. Nutrients in the gut enter the bloodstream after passing through cells in intestinal protrusions called villi. In the study, mice that received HFCS in their diet had longer villi — and so more surface area for nutrient uptake — and higher levels of fatty molecules called lipids in their blood than did control animals. The authors suggest that villi lengthen owing to increased survival of cells deprived of oxygen (hypoxic cells), as a result of changes triggered by the presence of fructose.

Grpahic showing fructose-mediated gut changes

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02274-3

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