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Budget Advice for NIH

Blogger Steven Salzberg at the Genomics, Evolution and Pseudoscience blog has some budgeting advice for President Obama and NIH: if you want to save money, cut all funding to the two NIH centers — National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine — that research alternative medicines. Salzberg says cutting the two "pseudoscience" centers could save NIH about $240 million a year. "These two organizations use our tax dollars — and take money away from real biomedical research — to support some of the most laughably pseudoscientific claims that you can find," Salzberg says, citing, for example, NCCAM's $3.1 million study of Reiki as a healing practice. Salzberg also objects to what he calls NCCAM's spreading of "misinformation" about the effectiveness of homeopathy on its website. He says it won't be easy to get rid of these centers as they have strong support from certain members of Congress, but that his idea has received positive reviews from other members of the scientific community. The amount NIH would save would only add up to about 1 percent of its budget, Salzberg says, but it's a start.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.