Science  01 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5889, pp. 623

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  1. Space Program Shakeup

    1. Edwin Cartlidge

    The Italian Space Agency (ASI) has been thrown into turmoil by a wave of resignations and the appointment on 18 July of interim “commissioners” to its administrative council, says physicist Giovanni Bignami, ASI's president. He expects that the center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi may also dismiss him.

    The resignation of six of seven administrative council members (Bignami being the eighth and chair) prompted the government to put Enrico Saggese, senior vice president for space operations of aerospace and defense company Finmeccanica, and University of Padua astronomer Piero Benvenuti in charge. As Science went to press, Bignami was still ASI's president but said the government may dismiss him after a Cabinet meeting on 8 August, if not before.

    A spokesperson for Italy's education and research ministry said that the decision to appoint the commissioners was due entirely to “technical and administrative reasons.”

  2. WikiPathways Debuts

    1. Rachel Zelkowitz

    The makers of GenMAPP, the popular online genetic data hub, have launched a site for sharing findings on metabolic pathways. Modeled after Wikipedia, WikiPathways ( offers a way to integrate information on these complex networks, says creator and cell biologist Bruce Conklin of the University of California, San Francisco, who last week formally opened the project with colleagues at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The site has more than 300 registered users and contains information on 500 metabolic pathways in seven species, including humans.

  3. Warning on ITER

    1. Daniel Clery

    The “uncertain U.S. commitment to ITER,” the key to fusion energy's future, is a matter of the “greatest concern,” says a 29 July report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Congress axed a proposed 2008 U.S. contribution of $149 million for the project, which begins construction this year. The NAS panel concluded that “fluctuations in the U.S. commitment to ITER will undoubtedly have a large negative impact.” Stephen Dean of the Gaithersburg, Maryland-based advocacy group Fusion Power Associates grasped at a straw in the fact that “the academies think the project is important,” which might sway Congress.