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William Brinkman to Leave DOE

William Brinkman, who leads the US Department of Energy's Office of Science, is stepping down from that position, citing personal reasons, in April, ScienceInsider reports. In his farewell note, though, Brinkman applauds the Office of Science on a number of fronts, but he also says that he is worried about budget cuts facing research and development in the US. "As I leave office, my biggest concern remains the erosion of science funding in the United States when most of the industrialized countries of the world are increasing funding," he said in an email to staff.

ScienceInsider notes that, earlier this month, Brinkman spoke before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies about how the sequester would affect the Office of Science. Under the sequester, the Office of Science faces a $215 million budget cut, which Brinkman said would affect the office's ability to fund graduate students and research programs as well as hamper its efforts to upgrade labs and improve supercomputers.

"Sequestration greatly endangers the scope of our scientific program, as well as our ability to keep our construction projects on time and on budget," he said, according to ScienceInsider.

The Scan

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Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.