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This Week in Science: Sep 28, 2007

The US will no longer be part of an international test of advanced mathematics and physics, reports Science. The National Center for Education Statistics says that it cannot afford the test's cost, but critics say that the Bush administration is pulling out because a bad performance on international tests would reflect badly on the No Child Left Behind Act.

Researchers led by Hilary Morrison describe the genome of the protist Giardia lamblia, a human intestinal parasite. This early eukaryote contains two nuclei, but lack mitochondria and peroxisomes, and much of its cellular processes are simplified. Giardia has two origin recognition complex proteins and its RNA processing machinery is less complex than other eukaryotes'. Even with Giardia's genome, there are still questions about this protist's past. "The evolutionary history of Giardia is not so clearly written in the genome, reigniting a smoldering debate about the origin of Giardia and its relationship to other eukaryotes," writes the University of British Columbia's Patrick Keeling in a related Perspectives article.

Using sequence-by-synthesis technology on 10 ancient mammoth hairs, scientists led by M. Thomas P. Gilbert report that they sequenced the Siberian mammoth's mitochondrial genome with 48-fold coverage. They also compared the SBS technique to using bone samples. The SBS and coat hair method yielded fewer sequencing errors than using frozen bone samples or bone samples kept at room temperature, and it yielded mtDNA sequence 5.75 to 26 times higher.


The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.