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This Week in Science: Oct 24, 2008

Scientists interviewed for a documentary about the supposedly evolution-based video game Spore have claimed that they were misled about the content of the film. Science's own Gonzo Scientist weighs in and gives the game a grade of F. "According to the scientists, the problem isn't just that Spore dumbs down the science or gets a few things wrong — it's meant to be a game, after all — but rather, it gets most of biology badly, needlessly, and often bizarrely wrong," John Bohannon says.

Two articles focus on science and presidential policy. In one, Science's news staff has condensed what Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have said during the campaign about important issues into a PDF file. In another, they offer 10 big topics that the next president will have to put some thought into, including nanotechnology and international scientific collaborations.

Italian scientists performed an RNAi screen to identify membrane proteins associated with calcium-dependent chloride channels that are regulated by IL-4. By knocking out proteins in epithethial cells and then treating them with IL-4, they determined that the transmembrane protein, TMEM16A, is associated with calcium-dependent chloride current. A related article puts their findings in perspective when it comes to drug discovery for cystic fibrosis and cancer.

A study led by the Wellcome Trust Centre has characterized genes in fission yeast involved in RNA-mediated gene silencing in centromeric heterochromatin, finding that many of them were RNA splicing factors and were needed to go from centromeric transcript to small interfering RNA.


The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.