US presidential candidates weigh in on science

US presidential candidates weigh in on science

Science has not played a huge role thus far in the ongoing 2012 presidential race, but those with an interest and a stake in US research and innovation finally have something to chew on. Today the campaigns of both principal candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, submitted detailed answers to a set of science policy questions put to them by ScienceDebate.org   The candidates weighed in on climate change, biosecurity, the state of the world’s oceans and much more.  Read more

Fruitflies evolve number sense

Fruitflies evolve number sense

In a curious example of insect intelligence US and Canadian researchers report they have evolved a population of fruit flies that can count. The result, presented on 9 July at the First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Ottawa, Canada, supports the notion that the neural mechanisms underlying basic arithmetic skills first emerged hundreds of millions of years ago. It could also eventually offer a key to understanding why some people have problems with numbers.  Read more

Senate bill disappoints NIH advocates

In a telling sign of tight fiscal times, a prominent advocate for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US Senate today offered the biggest funding increase he could muster for 2013: a .33% percent increase, amounting to US$100 million more for the biomedical agency that it will receive this year.  Read more

Personal-genetics company patent raises hackles

Personal-genetics company patent raises hackles

The consumer genetics testing company 23andMe announced its first patent this week, and some of its customers aren’t happy. The Mountain View, California, -based company offers a US$299 service where a customer can mail in a saliva sample for genetic analysis. Individuals can then log on to the company’s website to learn how their genetic variants relate to ancestry and disease. The company uses data from consenting customers to find genetic variants associated with disease and other traits.  Read more

California stem-cell agency shifts toward clinical work

California stem-cell agency shifts toward clinical work

The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) voted on 24 May to accept a new strategic plan which shrinks or eliminates support for basic research, facilities and training, while funneling more of its funds toward clinical development. “The first stage of CIRM was really exploring the field,” said Ellen Feigal, senior vice president of R&D. “The next five years should be one of more focus.” By July 2013, the agency hopes to have two programmes approved for clinical trials in the United States.  Read more