The Papal Phone Call

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Francis Collins to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a group tasked with promoting "the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and [studying] epistemological problems," according to the Vatican's website.

Other members of the 80-person academy include David Baltimore, Paul Berg, and Stephen Hawking.

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Researchers have treated an X-linked genetic disease affecting three babies in utero, Stat News reports.

The Associated Press reports that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is beefing up sequencing as a tool to investigate foodborne illnesses.

Researchers have sequenced samples from ancient toilets to study past eating habits and health, NPR reports.

In Nature this week: ash dieback disease fungal genome, and more.