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This Week in Science: Oct 3, 2008

Science reports on Elias Zerhouni's impending departure from his post as NIH director. Zerhouni says his sees his leaving as part of "the natural cycle of tenures for this position." Zerhouni has recommended that deputy director Raynard Kington be appointed acting NIH director. Also in this issue, Zerhouni and Elizabeth Nabel write that NIH is taking recent results from the Homer et al. PLoS Genetics paper (that found individual genomic data could be parsed out from aggregate data) seriously. Zerhouni and Nabel write that NIH intends to move the aggregate data, which has already been removed from NIH sites, into a "controlled-access database, where there is a firewall as well as protections and policies in place for appropriate data access, including review and approval of data access requests."

Robert Tjian will replace Thomas Cech as president of HHMI. Tijan tells Science that he has no specific plans for the institute but will be visiting to "learn the ropes" while Cech is there. "I need to go in there and take a look," Tijan says.

Researchers led by Université Blaise Pascal's Catherine Feuillet report that they have created a physical map of wheat chromosome 3B, the plant's largest chromosome. This map came about as part of the international effort to sequence the wheat genome, which contains 17 billion base pairs -- five times larger than the human genome -- and is hexaploid. The scientists created a BAC library and assembled it into 1036 contigs, covering about 82 percent of the chromosome. The researchers write that this shows that a chromosome-based approach is suitable for such a complex genome. "Our work may pave the way for a major change in how the next genomes for de novo sequencing are selected, thereby accelerating improvements in economically important crop species," they write.

Harvard's Marc Vidal and colleagues analyzed yeast interactome maps. They found that yeast-two-hybrid screens give high-quality data and they then developed a new mapping framework for "'second-generation' high-quality, high-throughput Y2H data." The researchers compared Y2H data to affinity purification-mass spectrometry-coupled data and they say AP/MS data is also high quality, though gives different information about the biological networks. "Y2H and AP/MS provide orthogonal information about the interactome and are both vital to obtaining a complete picture of cellular protein-protein interaction networks," they write.


The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.