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Allure of Science

While US President Barack Obama has placed an emphasis on getting students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers through the Educate to Innovate Initiative and a series of White House science fairs, Kenneth Chang at the New York Times writes that the goal has been "elusive."

National Lab Day — which later became National Lab Network — was started by entrepreneur Jack Hidary to match teachers to scientists willing to help with classroom projects. The first year kicked off with help from administration officials, but the "effort has been winding down for the last year and a half" Hidary tells Chang.

Still “[w]e know we had direct influence on thousands and thousands of teachers,” Hidary says.

However, Chang notes that how US students scored on the Program of International Student Assessment hasn't changed much, and Hidary adds that such improvements may take time.

The Scan

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The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.