20 November 2009
Vol 326, Issue 5956
  • Contents

    • This Week in Science

    • Editorial

    • Editors' Choice

    • Podcasts

      • Science Podcast

        The show includes the demise of Pleistocene megafauna, strengthening memories during sleep, cleaning up oil mine reclamation, and more.

    • Products & Materials

      • New Products

        A weekly roundup of information on newly offered instrumentation, apparatus, and laboratory materials of potential interest to researchers.

    • News of the Week

      • Belt-Tightening Could Claim Some Scientific Scalps

        Attempting to rein in Japan's yawning budget deficit, a government task force last week recommended tens of millions of dollars in cuts in science spending in the fiscal year beginning next April that would hit everything from research grants to big-ticket items such as a next-generation supercomputer.

      • Galactic Glare Reveals Birthplace of Cosmic Rays

        Two new astronomical results—one in this week's issue of Science and the other published online this month in Nature—suggest that cosmic rays acquire their tremendous velocities from exploding stars.

      • Splitting the Difference Between Oil Pessimists and Optimists

        World production of conventional oil is likely to peak before 2030 and could reach its limits before 2020, a major report from a new voice in the debate over oil depletion warns. In view of the daunting task of weaning the world's transportation off oil, the risk of a peak before 2030 "needs to be given serious consideration," the report says.

      • Clean Pigs Offer Alternative to Stem Cell Transplants

        Within a couple of years, a scientific team hopes to start clinical trials using cells from the first swine herd in the country specially bred to supply insulin-secreting pancreatic islets for people with diabetes. But they face immunological and regulatory challenges, as well as the challenge of overcoming public aversion to the idea.

      • From Science's Online Daily News Site

        ScienceNOW this week reported that meditation halves the risk of heart disease, empathy is in our genes, holes can block light, and new neurons make room for new memories, among other stories.

      • University Head Zhu Qingshi Challenges Old Academic Ways

        In an interview with Science, Zhu Qingshi, the newly appointed president of China's planned South University of Science and Technology, explained how he intends to shake up China's university system—whether the education ministry likes it or not.

      • From the Science Policy Blog

        ScienceInsider reported this week that the American Physical Society's governing council has rejected a petition to revise a 2007 statement on global warming and Brazil has announced a plan to cut carbon emissions between 36% and 39% by 2020, among other stories.

    • Random Samples

    • News Focus

      • Eco-Alchemy in Alberta

        The oil of the future—vast and largely untapped reserves of petroleum in the form of tarry deposits a few tens of meters beneath the surface—has serious reclamation challenges right now.

      • Did Neandertals Dine In?

        Researchers have long debated whether the highly carnivorous Neandertals sometimes ate each other. In recent years, new evidence for this macabre hypothesis has emerged.

      • Chloroplast Shuffle

        Chloroplasts seem to rely on the polymerization of protein filaments to make their way across a cell, researchers reported at the 9th International Plant Molecular Biology Congress, and they can move quickly—or slowly—depending on the circumstances.

      • Steak With a Side of Beta-Glucans

        At the 9th International Plant Molecular Biology Congress, researchers described progress in manipulating the beta-glucan content of grains and other plant tissues, which could boost the fiber content of foods and enhance the value of the currently unusable parts of corn and wheat for biofuels.

      • A Question of Balance

        Researchers have proposed that genes that code for proteins that are part of complexes are most likely to survive the purging that follows whole-genome duplications. Increasing evidence from the 9th International Plant Molecular Biology Congress and other meetings suggests that this so-called gene balance hypothesis may be correct.

    • Letters

    • Books et al.

      • Selfless Memes

        De Waal uses observations from his own fieldwork to argue for the importance of empathy in social behavior of human and other animals.

      • Preferences and Penalties Differ

        Surveying and evaluating the scientific literature gender disparities in mathematics, science, and engineering disciplines, Ceci and Williams argue that the underrepresentation of women in these fields is due to "certain choices that women (but not men) are compelled to make in our society."

    • Policy Forum

      • New Science for Chemicals Policy

        U.S. regulation of chemicals is in need of an overhaul, informed by European legislation and guided by new thinking about risk.

    • Perspectives

      • Monitoring Earth's Critical Zone

        Earth's rapidly changing near-surface environment needs systematic observation to better manage future crop production, climates, and water quality.

      • Hydrate Molecular Ballet

        An exceptionally long computer simulation offers a glimpse of molecular events leading to methane hydrate formation.

      • Solving the Maze

        The maize genome sequence will allow further analyses of genetic diversity and the genetic basis for traits critical to plant breeding.

      • Megafaunal Decline and Fall

        Declines in North American megafauna populations began before the Clovis period and were the cause, not the result, of vegetation changes and increased fires.

    • Review

    • Brevia

    • Reports

      • Detection of Gamma Rays from a Starburst Galaxy

        Detection of our nearest starburst galaxy at very high energies confirms this galaxy type as a new class of gamma-ray emitter.

      • The B73 Maize Genome: Complexity, Diversity, and Dynamics

        The sequence of the maize genome reveals it to be the most complex genome known to date.

      • A First-Generation Haplotype Map of Maize

        In maize, recombination in the genome has been a limiting factor affecting evolution and breeding efforts.

      • Structural Basis of Immune Evasion at the Site of CD4 Attachment on HIV-1 gp120

        Conformational variability in an HIV coat protein complicates the therapeutic targeting of HIV-1.

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

COVER An ear of Zea mays (maize) shows color variation among kernels. Maize is one of the most important crop species worldwide, a vital source of food and fuel, and a valuable model organism for genetic research. Reports starting on pages 1112 and 1115 describe the genome sequences of the B73 and Palomero Toluqueño varieties. See also the related Report (p. 1118), Brevia (p. 1078), and Perspective (p. 1071). Photo: Kate Mathis/Getty Images