The various campuses of the University of California rejected a set of draft guidelines that would ban free gifts, samples, and lunches for clinicians and medical students as well as outlaw unrestricted grants from industry, says Nature's news section. A related editorial says the campuses' arguments that this money is an important source of revenue and that the campuses need autonomy "fall flat against the growing evidence that some forms of support from drug companies can taint perspectives and practices."
In other news from California, stem cell researcher James Thompson has taken up a part-time post at UC-Santa Barbara in addition to his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A news feature profiles Alan Krensky, the deputy director for the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives, who will be spearheading Elias Zerhouni's Roadmap for Medical Research. This program, which began four years ago, is supposed to encourage larger, riskier NIH projects—and Krensky is on the lookout for them.
Through a genome-wide association study, Miriam Moffatt and her colleagues found multiple markers on chromosome 17q21 for childhood asthma, a condition whose diagnosis rates are rising. From their study of 994 children with asthma and 1,243 without, they found that variants regulating ORMDL3 expression are important in determining childhood asthma susceptibility.