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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

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.