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NSF's Investigations

In its investigations of researchers who may have not disclosed foreign ties, the US National Science Foundation has taken action itself in 16 to 20 cases, Nature News reports. These actions include removing researchers from grants, ending grants, having funds be returned, or barring researchers from receiving future funding, it adds, noting the agency has referred others cases to the Department of Justice.

Lawmakers and funders have been concerned in recent years about intellectual property theft and foreign influence on biomedical research in the US. The National Institutes of Health, for instance, has sent letters asking institutions about researchers who may not have disclosed funding from foreign sources. In all, Michael Lauer, the head of extramural research at NIH, said last month that 54 researchers have resigned or been fired in the wake of its investigations. They have also led to arrests, including the high-profile arrest of Harvard University's Charles Lieber.

NSF's investigations, meanwhile, have led to fewer resignations or dismissals, Nature News reports, noting that is to be expected as NSF is a smaller funding body and often funds work with less obvious commercial applications than NIH.

The NIH investigations have also raised concerns about racism, as most of the researchers targeted have been Chinese or of Chinese ancestry. Jeremy Wu from the Chinese-American group the Committee of 100 tells Nature News that more transparency on NSF's investigations is also needed to gauge whether they are unfairly targeting certain groups.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.