Although the NIH’s budget has been expanding each year, the increases are not keeping pace with inflation rates, this news article says. Researchers are facing grant cuts, if those grants are even approved—only 7 percent of established investigators received funding on their first try in 2006. Grant reviewers, says a short accompanying piece, also feel the strain since the number of applications has increased 65 percent since 2002.
A special section of Science focuses on germ cells. First, this review walks through a description of Piwi-interacting RNAs, or piRNAs are. These small RNAs, found in Drosophila and mammalian germ lines, may be involved in epigenetic programming and post-transcriptional regulation. Another review looks more closely at how epigenetic methylation patterns in mammalian germ cells are regulated.
In a study led by Jonathan Sebat, researchers used microarray analysis to look at the rate of de novo copy mutations in children with and without autism and found that spontaneous changes in copy number were more frequent in those with autism than their unaffected family members.