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This Week in Science: Apr 24, 2009

An editorial from Ralph Cicerone, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, says that scientists will have to do their part to keep enthusiasm for science on the upswing in this country. "Scientists must do much more to show how science works and how scientific research contributes to the nation," he writes.

In news this week, Science reports its own "unusual decision" to retract a 2005 paper "without the agreement of all the authors." The paper, from scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and CGK, described an approach "to identify drug targets by tracking protein movements in live cells." An investigation revealed that "although the technique might be valid, data in the paper were fabricated," the article says. The official retraction can be found here.

The major paper this week is the publication of the cow genome (noted in the New York Times here). Sequenced to some sevenfold coverage, the genome contains at least "22,000 genes, with a core set of 14,345 orthologs shared among seven mammalian species," the Bovine Genome Sequencing and Analysis Consortium reports. A Perspectives piece from Harris Lewin calls the publication "a major milestone in animal genetics" and discusses the importance of livestock research. Check out full bovine publication coverage at our sister site, GenomeWeb Daily News.

Meantime, the Bovine HapMap Consortium describes a genome-wide look at SNP variation associated with different breeds of cattle. "These data show that cattle have undergone a rapid recent decrease in effective population size from a very large ancestral population, possibly due to bottlenecks associated with domestication, selection, and breed formation," the authors write. In a policy forum report, researchers take the opportunity to note that there's not enough research funding targeted at studies of farm animals.

Researchers at EMBL and other institutions used X-ray crystallography and mutational analysis to study polyphosphate (polyP), which occurs in all organisms but whose function has been unclear. Hothorn et al. "identified a eukaryotic polyphosphate polymerase within the membrane-integral vacuolar transporter chaperone (VTC) complex," according to the abstract. "Identification of the polyP-synthesizing enzyme opens the way to determine the functions of polyP in lower eukaryotes."

The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.