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This Week in Science: Jul 25, 2008

Science this week focuses on HIV/AIDS research, treatment, and the money funding it. Correspondent Jon Cohen reports that Uganda is trying to overcome the theft of $45.3 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria by officials, as well as on Botswana's aggressive treatment program. He also shows where funding in the US winds up. A Perspectives piece looks into the challenges of HIV vaccine research and another into microbiocides as disease transmission prevention.

Researchers report that there is no difference between boys' and girls' math skills in grades two through 11. The authors analyzed testing data from 10 US states, focusing on score variability and item complexity. Boys had slightly more variability in scores but, on more difficult items, there was still little variation.

University of California, San Diego, political scientists looked at twin data and matched it with voting data to find that voting correlates higher with identical twins than with same-sex fraternal twins. The researchers argue that DNA influences voting. Neurogeneticist David Goldman is skeptical. "In any questionnaire you'll find heritability but you don't know what's being inherited," he says.

UCSF scientists developed a way to pass mitochondrial genome mutations in Drosophila on to the next generation. They used a restriction enzyme, XhoI, on wild-type mitochondrial DNA. When the enzyme cuts the mtDNA, it leads to reduced fertility, and thus creates selective pressure for flies lacking the restriction site. The three resulting mutants were affected differently: one was healthy, one was healthy but with sterile males, and the third had a wide range of defects. The authors say this model will enhance scientists' ability to study mitochondrial genetics and human mitochondrial diseases.


The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.