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This Week in Science: Nov 14, 2008

An editorial from the University of Virginia's William Wulf and Anita Jones is encouraging scientists to serve, if called, in science and technology policy positions in the new US administration. "Without unrelenting oversight by individuals with technical expertise to ensure sound implementation, foolish actions will be taken," they warn.

A news story focuses on the lack of progress on the banana genome and notes that the popular Cavendish banana is under attack by a soil fungus. "If the Cavendish is wiped out, there's nothing to replace it," Nicolas Roux, from the Global Musa Genomics Consortium, tells Science. "We're sitting on a time bomb." Next week, though, a French research agency is to announce funds to sequence the banana.

Elias Zerhouni and Janez Potocnik wrote into Science to say that NIH and the European Commission have clarified their policies on funding global collaborations. US-based researchers can now receive EC funds if they are in a consortium with European Union researchers.

RIKEN researchers report that they have made a complete genome sequence of the Bacteroidales endosymbiont of the cellulolytic protist Pseudotrichonympha grassii, found in termite guts. From the annotated genome, they looked into the prokaryote's ability to fix dinitrogen, recycle host nitrogen, and import glucose and zylose as carbon and energy sources. The chromosome contained 1,114,206 base pairs.

Over in the online early section, a group of researchers report that the expression and function of EZH2, a protein involved in epigenetic silencing and that acts a regulator of cancer cell survival and metastases, is inhibited by microRNA-101. Thus, the researchers propose that the loss of miR-101 leads to EZH2 overexpression, dysregualtion of the epigenetic pathway, and cancer progression.


The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.