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This Week in Science: Nov 2, 2007

In the news section this week, Science focuses on the dispute between glycobiologists and the nutraceutical company Mannatech. Ronald Schnaar and Hudson Freeze wrote an editorial for Glycobiology in which they critiqued Mannatech's educational website (parts of it were labeled "peer-reviewed"), saying Mannatech took real glycobiology findings and "mixed [them] with speculation about the potential of glyconutrients to positively impact" diseases and conditions. Mannatech supporters say critics unjustly write off complementary medicine.

The second installment of Science's gonzo scientist series goes to Sweden for a three-day celebration of Linnaeus' 300th birthday. John Bohannon spent those days listening to lectures on food and eating 18th century style, just as did Linnaeus, who apparently had the 18th century version of a foodie reputation. "Our first dinner was designed to match what Linnaeus enjoyed. In both flavor and appearance, the dishes were painted in primary colors," writes Bohannon, continuing on to describe a luscious meal.

A few years ago, Takao Kondo's group found that when three proteins (KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC) purified from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongates were mixed with a source of phosphate, the proteins' phosphorylation states oscillated similar to the bacteria's natural circadian rhythm, says this Perspectives article. Two new papers now shed a bit more light onto how that clock works. The Kondo group reports in EMBO that each product of the phosphorylation cycle regulates the next reaction. They also saw that a double phosphorylation converts KaiC from an autokinase to an autophosphatase and a dephosphorylation undoes it. In Science, Erin O'Shea led a group to find that one of the phosophoforms creates a feedback loop by working through KaiB to inhibit KaiA.


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.