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This Week in Science: Apr 18, 2008

The Gonzo Scientist series reappears in Science this week. This time John Bohannon reports on an upcoming conference that will take place in the World of Warcraft from May 9th to 11th. "Anyone with an Internet connection can take part, from anywhere in the world. All you have to do is install the game, create a character, and join the guild called 'Science' on the Earthen Ring US server," he writes.

Stanford's Atul Butte writes on the 25th anniversary of GenBank. In his Perspectives article, he says that such a "high-bandwidth measurement style" should be applied to the clinic. Butte says, "Instead of viewing data availability as a disadvantage, clinical researchers and institutions should be encouraged to look at the success of resources such as GenBank to see how the public availability of deidentified data can yield many more discoveries when shared."

In a profile, Derek Smith says he got into biology because he did not want to work for the military. In this issue he and his colleagues report on the analysis of hemagglutinin from 13,000 H3N2 influenza A samples from all over the world. The researchers conclude that better forecasting and better vaccine strain selection can be accomplished through better surveillance of the strains in Asia. Keiji Fukuda from the World Health Organization agrees. "It's really a fantastic paper," he says in a related news story.

A group of scientists from Stanford and the University of Toronto performed chemical and genomic assays to understand the nonessential fraction of the yeast genome — deleting about 80 percent of yeast genes appears to have no consequence on yeast as long as it lives in a rich medium. From their assays, they report that 97 percent of gene deletions do affect yeast's growth under some growth conditions.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.