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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

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.