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This Week in Nature: May 1, 2008

An article looks at how state stem cell funding in California will pan out as the CIRM is about to start doling out major awards for building renovations at state campuses and newly created institutions like the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. "The consortium is an example of how California's philanthropists have become heavily involved in shaping the agency — and how scientists, in turn, have tapped into the state's private wealth," says a news feature.

Two commentaries look at science education in the US. In one, authors argue that accurate assessment of America's competitiveness shouldn't be based on simplistic test score rankings from high school students; another says that teaching and teacher training need to ramp up in order to better instruct fast-moving scientific concepts, like evolutionary theory.

Hewlett-Packard scientists have found a fourth fundamental circuit element, called a memristor, that arises naturally in a configured nanoscale systems. Complementing the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor, the memristor could be used to build "extremely dense computer memory chips that use far less power than today's DRAM memory chips," says a New York Times article. However, "even to consider an alternative to the transistor is anathema to many device engineers, and the memristor concept will have a steep slope to climb towards acceptance," opines a news feature.

A team led by the University of Washington's Evan Eichler have looked at structural variation in eight people to construct the fist "high-resolution sequence map" of this type of variation. Scanning for insertions, deletions and inversions affecting from a few thousand to a few million base pairs, they refined the location of 1,695 structural variants and found 525 new insertion sequences, among other things.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.