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This Week in Science: Aug 8, 2008

Some of the presidentially-approved stem cell lines may not have adequate consent from the embryo donors. Bioethicist Robert Streiffer says that most of the consent forms fall short of the standards put in place in 1994. The lines from University of California, San Francisco come close to meeting the 2005 National Academy of Sciences guidelines, but the lines from BresaGen and Cellartis, Steiffer points out as having particularly inadequate consent.

Science looks into the scuffle in the evo-devo field. Hopi Hoekstra and Jerry Coyne published an article in Evolution last year that argues that the popular cis-regulatory hypothesis isn't proven fact. There are several findings that suggest that regulatory changes are important in evolution, including those of Sean Carroll. Hoekstra and Coyne do say those changes in regulation are important but say they are not necessarily due to mutations in cis-regulatory regions. They also criticize the zeal of many cis theory supporters.

High-throughput screening is taking off at universities. However, this News Focus points out that many of these academic centers lack medicinal chemists who can verify a hit -- and if they do detect a valid hit, it is uncertain who will move that research forward toward the clinic.

Two ethicists follow up on what occurs to scientists found guilty of misconduct. Of the 43 scientists studied, all were excluded from Public Health Service advisory boards, 30 were excluded from PHS contracts and grants for an average of 3.4 years, 20 were under institutional oversight for an average of 3.2 years, and 14 had to retract or correct papers.


The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.