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This Week in Science: Jan 25, 2008

Science has its own news story on the 1,000 Genomes Project that focuses on how mapping a diverse group of genomes will become a reference set of variation and will help uncover rare SNPs. Science also notes that Craig Venter's team plans to sequence 10 individuals this year and 10,000 more -- as diploid genomes -- over the next 10 years.

A group of nine researchers say that the Max Planck Institutes in Germany lure the best researchers and graduate students out of the country's university system, leading to that system's low international status. The group, which included Nobel laureate Günter Blobel, call for the Max Planck Institutes to be assimilated into nearby universities.

John Huelsenbeck and his collaborators report that statistical methods used to analyze genomic data do not take uncertainty of the alignment into consideration. While this may not have much of an effect on phylogenetic studies, the authors say it does affect comparative genomic studies. They studied genomic data from seven yeast species and aligned them by seven methods -- and found different methods could lead to different conclusions. In a related Perspectives article, Antonis Rokas comments, "We sweep this uncertainty under the proverbial rug at our peril."

Over at the online early section of Science, scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute report that they synthesized an 82,970 bp Mycoplasma genitalium genome, named Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. According to, Venter notes that they "have not yet booted up the synthetic chromosome" since there are still challenges to overcome. Simon Woods, a bioethicist at the University of Newcastle, told the BBC that this work is "an amazing piece of science" before adding that it has "potentially dangerous consequences."

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.