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On Genomes and Government



NIH Public Access

Over at PolITigenomics, David Dooling from Washington University in St. Louis blogs about a bill circulating in the US House of Representatives that's seeking to limit NIH's new mandatory public access policy. The bill would amend copyright law to prevent government agencies from forcing publishers to deposit publicly-funded research after any period of time. "The bill would shift rights away from the article authors, the researchers, and back to large publishing houses," Dooling blogs. He says open access proponents should write to their Congressional reps and urge them to oppose the bill.

Genomes for Everyone

Last month, Complete Genomics' announcement that it would soon be able to sequence human genomes for just $5,000 apiece had the community abuzz. Russ Altman blogged that with so much competition in the next-gen sequencing space, "soon we will be able to get our entire genome sequence basically for free." He says this could be a game-changer for medical fields: "We should be able to use this information to do some pretty good genome-informed medicine (like pharmacogenomics and more predictive diagnostics)." He adds that the scientific community will have to do its best to educate the public "about how to interpret their genome and how to use the information beneficially."

Choose an Advisor

This month, the US will elect a new president — and bloggers are already raising their voices to encourage whichever candidate that will be to waste no time in naming a science advisor. Michael White at Adaptive Complexity says that "the political guys, if they are interested in reality-based government, should have input from a real scientist when making … decisions" about their administrative appointments to scientific agencies such as NIH. Meanwhile, a Wired blogger reported that Harold Varmus and Peter Agre helped Barack Obama craft his responses to the Science Debate 2008 questions.

Parkinson's Mutation

Google cofounder Sergey Brin availed himself of the personal genome services of 23andMe, headed up by his wife, Anne Wojcicki. In his blog, he writes that the scan revealed a mutation in the LRRK2 gene that accounts for a good portion of familial Parkinson's disease, and that his mother has the same mutation and has developed the disease. Brin says while the implications of the finding and the specific risk level associated with it are not entirely clear, he can now take measures to reduce his risk and to support Parkinson's research.

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.