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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

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.