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What Was That About the Gift Horse?

New York Times delves into the touchy topic that's been on everyone's mind in the last several months -- that is, whether the science stimulus package represented a wise use of government funds. "Experts are divided about whether projects [from stimulus funds] are compatible with the intent of Congress to create jobs as fast as possible," the story says. Beyond that, "some people worry that the money is not being spent fast enough." But the article also quotes Google CEO Eric Schmidt as saying, "This is the best kind of government spending there is. ... It has a short-term stimulative effect in terms of jobs and consumer spending. And it has the potential of inventing something very important like the Internet."

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.