In science news around the world this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is pondering if human genes are patentable, Italy scrapped plans for the SuperB accelerator, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a "hub" to focus on batteries and energy storage, and a new chair of the U.S. House of Representatives science committee has been chosen.
A burgeoning field dubbed genomic epidemiology uses full-genome sequencing of microbes to trace the path that a pathogen took—and, increasingly, to help stop transmission.
A popular hypothesis in the field of human genetics—that the general population carries somewhat rare variants that greatly increase or decrease a person's disease risk—is not yet panning out.
Chinese biologist Jianlin Han is attempting to breed better red jungle fowl to benefit the rural poor and gather a massive data set to understand the genetic underpinnings of the domestic chicken.
Researchers are melding genetics and archaeology to close in on the origin of the world's most common bird—and potentially help protect a major source of animal protein.
In science news around the world this week, a highly unpopular proposed merger between the celebrated British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre has been halted, India's new science minister has taken a skeptical stance on genetically modified crops, Laos has given builders a green light to finish work on a controversial megadam on the Mekong River, and papers will no longer be considered for publication in BMJ unless authors agree to share raw clinical information.
Researchers argue that most work on Myc, a gene linked to aggressive cancers, needs to be reevaluated. They say that Myc's cancerous effects are actually much broader, and that a flawed experimental method may have thrown off previous research.
Exploring the roots of medical genetics, Comfort illuminates neglected connections between eugenics and medicine during the first half of the 20th century.
Believing that we will eventually reengineer the human species, Mehlman considers the implications of doing so and some of the mistakes we may make.
In science news around the world this week, NOAA wants to limit public access to fisheries data to protect confidential business information, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity has struck its first deal on how to pay for its goals, a scientific panel called for a 10-year moratorium on field trials of genetically modified crops in India, questions swirl around what critics call a rogue geoengineering experiment in international waters off the coast of British Columbia, the European Space Agency has signed off on a new mission to study extrasolar planets orbiting nearby bright stars, and two French agencies have each concluded that a rodent study linking ingestion of genetically modified corn to tumors is inconclusive.