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NSF Tries to Lure Minority Students to Science

President Obama's 2011 budget calls for the elimination of three National Science Foundation programs, according to Paul Basken of the Chronicle for Higher Education: the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program, the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. Instead, the NSF will receive $103 million for a program called Comprehensive Broadening Participation of Undergraduates in STEM. NSF director Arden Bement says that with the approach of spending by racial group, there hasn't been a significant increase in the number of minority students majoring in the sciences. But Basken says some people are unhappy with the plan; competition for funding could undermine the relationships between institutions that serve minority students.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.