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To the Brink

More than two dozen research facilities in Australia may have to shut down at the end of June when their funding runs out, the Guardian reports. The $150 million needed to fund those 27 research infrastructure facilities is being held up in the Senate along with changes the Abbott administration wants to make to education, the paper adds.

These National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme-funded facilities include the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, the Australian National Fabrication Facility, and more.

If all the facilities close, the Guardian says that some 1,700 people could be out of work. Rosie Hicks, the chief executive of the fabrication facility, says that much of her staff is looking for jobs overseas

"Staff are nervous and some of our operators have already lost staff who didn't necessarily want to leave but who have had to go and find more secure employment," adds Tim Moltmann, the director of the Integrated Marine Observing System.

The Guardian notes that Christopher Pyne, the education minister, said in January that Senate would have to pass his education changes for NCRIS as well as some other programs to be funded. "It's a high-stakes game," he said.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.