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This Week in Science: Feb 29, 2008

This week, Science has a special section on quantum physics. If you're interested in exploring exotic phases of matter, the behavior of quantum systems, fermions, or other uses of quantum physics, check out the section here.

In the news section, Florida takes the stage with its recent approval of science standards for the state. The standards explicitly refer to the teaching of evolution, but anti-evolution activists are also claiming a win since the standards refer to "the scientific theory of evolution."

Also, NIH has unveiled a not-quite-final plan to lift some of the burden off the peer review system. One part of the proposal is to have applications stamped "not recommended for resubmission" to weed out weak applications that keep being resubmitted. Another recommendation is to shorten the length of the application and to focus on impact and innovation. The final report is to be submitted this week.

This issue also contains the print version of the paper describing the synthetic Mycoplasma genitalium from the J. Craig Venter Institute. In a Perspectives article, Drew Endy writes, "This first construction of a genome encoding a self-reproducing organism heralds important opportunities in both genetics and biotechnology, highlights the need for improved DNA construction technology, and reinforces the value of ongoing public discussion of the impacts of making organisms easier to engineer."

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.