Politics influenced FDA's approval of a device that assists in knee-replacement surgeries, reports the New York Times. Scientific reviewers at FDA concluded that the Menafelx device, made by ReGen Biologic, was unsafe and often failed. Managers overruled that decision after pressure from New Jersey (where the device is manufactured) politicians, Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven Rothman, all Democrats, the Times says.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has released the results of a genetic ancestry analysis, the Boston Globe reports.

Retraction Watch's Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus report that Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital have recommended that more than 30 papers from a former researcher be retracted.

Thomas Steitz, who won the 2009 chemistry Nobel Prize for his ribosome work, has died, the Washington Post reports.

In PLOS this week: mechanisms for genes implicated in coronary artery disease, rumen microbes and host genetics influence cow methane production, and more.