At this writing, the Bush administration has made only limited progress in filling the most important scientific positions in the federal government: Director of the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration commissioner, and head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). This week Bush nominated John Marburger, the director of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, to head the OSTP, but many observers have pointed to the delay as an example of the President's indifference to science matters.

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Two researchers have found that behavioral genetic defenses in criminal cases don't tend to affect outcomes, according to Popular Science.

Researchers report that while host genetics influence the oral microbiome, they don't appear to affect cavity-causing microbes, the Economist says.

Pandas' gut microbiomes change as what they eat changes with the seasons, writes Discover's Inkfish blog.

In PLOS this week: comparative genomic study of malaria-linked macaque parasite, search for apple root reference genes, and more.