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This Week in Science: Jul 13, 2007

Stem cell researchers Chad Cowan, Douglas Melton, and Alan Trounson joined Jeanne Loring in issuing statements against the University of Wisconsin's three human stem cell patents, says a Science news story. The researchers argue that Wisconsin scientist James Thompson did excellent work but it isn't patentable since the methods he used built on existing technology and anyone with adequate materials and resources could have achieved the same results.

Two research articles found that sister-chromatid cohesion, the event that usually takes places during S phase of the cell division cycle, also occurs in response to DNA damage. Using budding yeast, Elçin Ünal and colleagues showed that cohesion in response to either replication or damage needs Eco1, which has cohesive and acetyltransferase activity. Lena Ström and her coworkers found that chromosomal breaks set off a signaling pathway that activates cohesion, and sometimes Eco1.

Berkeley professor Marcia Linn reviews the book Why Aren't More Women in Science?, edited by Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams. In this collection of 15 essays, 19 researchers present their thoughts, arguments, and evidence to answer the title question. "My main quibbles with the book are the focus on exceptional scientific attainments (Ph.D. level) and the emphasis on small differences between males and females," says Linn, before adding that the book will get readers thinking on their own.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.