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Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

NIH managers aren't following the advice of review panels and are "giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to scientists," namely young investigators, "whose projects are deemed less scientifically worthy than those denied money," says the New York Times. From a Government Accountability Office report, the Times says that 19 percent of awarded grants made in 2007 were exceptions, and is nearly double the 2003 level.

"I see the value of providing more opportunities to our graduates," Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology President Mark Lively says. "There's an important need to create openings for those individuals."

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's Peter Farnham, says it's too much. "At 19 percent, they're taking too much from the more seasoned investigators,” he says. "We would be comfortable with a somewhat lower level."

NIH says that all the funded grants are deserving. "By reaching down, we're not sacrificing the quality of the science but instead reaching new investigators," says Sally Rockey, the acting director for extramural research. "We have a far greater amount of high-quality science projects than we could ever fund."

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.