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This Week in Science: Jun 27, 2008

French researchers and science labor unions are protesting a proposed restructuring of the National Center for Scientific Research that would create eight new institutes. Opponents say that is tantamount to dismantling the scientific body, but proponents say it will lead to an institute to unify the life sciences in France.

In the US, a footnote to a war spending bill included a $400 million increase for four scientific agencies, the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and NASA. NIH will be receiving $150 million and $62.5 million will go to the other three agencies.

Using about 32 kilobases of DNA sequences from 169 bird species, a group of researchers report new, and corroborate suggested, familial relationships among bird species. This new bird tree of life shows that song birds and parrots are sister species and that some diurnal birds evolved from nocturnal ones. "It's the most impressive paper in the higher level phylogeny of birds to come along in a long time," says the American Museum of Natural History's Joel Cracraft in a related News Focus. "It will be used by avian systematists and non-avian systematists for a very long time."

Stony Brook researchers used a poliovirus model to see what the effects of genome-scale manipulation of codon pair bias are. With hundreds of over- or underrepresented synonymous codon pairs, they made large DNA molecules that encode the virus' capsid protein and found that the underrepresented codon pairs resulted in decreased protein translation. They then used customized poliovirus to immunize mice, which then had protective immunity.

 

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.