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Budget Surprise

A US House of Representatives panel is recommending that NIH receive a budget increase for fiscal yeat 2012, reports ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser. The panel released a draft spending bill last week that would raise NIH's budget by $1 billion to $31.7 billion, a 3.3 percent increase compared with the 2011 budget, Kaiser says. The spending boost matches a request made by President Obama, and reverses a $190 million spending cut approved by the Senate last week. Given the overall atmosphere of deep budget cuts, many are surprised by this news, Kaiser says. However, some of the provisions that go along with this budget increase are a little worrisome, she adds. The bill would require that NIH award at least 9,150 new and competing research project grants, and that 90 percent of the NIH budget could go to extramural activities and 10 percent to intramural activities. The bill leaves out any mention of NIH's plan to create the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to replace the National Center for Research Resources, though the Senate is likely to make changes to the bill to reintroduce a provision for NCATS and the Cures Acceleration Network, which was also left out of the House bill.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.