Archive by date | November 2012

US Supreme Court to decide on gene patents in Myriad case

Cancer-testing company Myriad Genetics is back in the courts again. In a long-running piece of legislation, the Supreme Court today agreed to hear arguments about the validity of Myriad’s patents covering isolated DNA of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.  Read more

Visa increase for foreign scientists wins tenuous victory in US House

Just two months after rejecting a nearly identical immigration measure, members of the US House of Representatives passed a bill on 30 November to grant permanent residency for up to 55,000 foreign researchers with US degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Read more

Texas cancer agency reveals another grant misstep

The embattled agency charged with doling out $3 billion in Texas taxpayer money for cancer research and prevention has discovered during an audit another unreviewed commercialization grant. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced yesterday that it has put a hold on the $11 million award and that the company that received it, Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics, has resubmitted the proposal for commercial and scientific review.  Read more

Italian particle physics facility scuttled by funding woes

An Italian project aiming to build a new particle accelerator near Rome, called SuperB, will either have to be abandoned or drastically scaled back for lack of funding. The project has failed to attract enough international partners to pay its full cost, and the Italian government yesterday made it clear that it will not cover the gap.  Read more

NIH sticks with ‘two strikes’ grant rule – updated

NIH sticks with 'two strikes' grant rule - updated

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will continue an policy that allows grant applicants just one resubmission if their proposal is rejected the first time, the agency announced today.  Read more

Massive solar flare could have caused eighth century radiation burst

A mysterious spike in atmospheric carbon-14 levels 12 centuries ago might be a sign the Sun is capable of producing solar storms dozens of times worse than anything we’ve ever seen, a team of physicists calculates in a paper published in Nature.  Read more

Amazon deforestation drops to record low

The rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen to yet another record low this year. The new figure, a staggering 27% drop from 2011, exceeded the expectations of the Brazilian government and puts the country on the verge of fulfilling the promise it made at the COP 15 climate meeting in Copenhagen in 2009: to slash the rate of destruction of the world’s largest tropical forest by 80% by 2020.  Read more

Lamar Smith wins nomination for top House science position

Lamar Smith wins nomination for top House science position

US Republican leaders announced on 27 November their recommendation of Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, as the new chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith’s nomination is expected to be ratified by the House Republican Conference on 28 November.  Read more