genetically modified crop aimed at fighting
vitamin A deficiency—into vitamin A. After
a Tufts investigative panel found ethical
lapses in the study last year, ASN allegedly
asked Tang and her co-authors to withdraw the paper. The scientists declined;
Tang, who filed suit 9 July, argued that
retraction is tantamount to defamation.
One of Tang’s supporters says the society
has agreed to a 90-day stay before retracting the paper to attempt to settle out of
Remote tribe contracts flu
ACRE, BRAZIL | Members of a long-isolated Amazon tribe have contracted
influenza after making voluntary contact
with the outside world (Science, 11 July,
p. 125). Members of the tribe had emerged
from the forest along the Upper Envira
River late last month, possibly to evade
illegal loggers and cocaine traffickers.
They spent several weeks with repre-
Bill would boost NSF funding
sentatives from Brazil’s Indian affairs
department (FUNAI) and with people
from an indigenous village. Late last week,
FUNAI announced that the tribespeople
had contracted the flu virus, to which they
have no immunity—particularly worrying
because thousands of such tribespeople
live in the Amazon region. A govern-
ment medical team treated the infected
tribespeople and provided them with
immunizations, according to FUNAI, but
the group then returned to their forest
home—a development that alarms many
WASHINGTON, D.C. | The Senate’s
Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Committee released proposed legislation on
18 July that calls on Congress to increase
the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s)
budget by nearly 40%, to $9.9 billion,
by 2019. It also endorses NSF’s current
policies for reviewing grant proposals
and—in sharp contrast to a U.S. House
of Representatives bill—emphasizes the
importance of the social sciences as part of
a balanced research portfolio. The bill, titled
the America COMPETES Reauthorization
Act of 2014, would replace the 2010 America
COMPETES Act, which expired last year.
But neither the Senate nor the House is
likely to complete action on its reauthorization bill before the November election.
Neuroscientist John Donoghue has spent
the past decade working on “BrainGate,”
brain-machine interfaces that allow
paralyzed people to control prosthetic
limbs using their minds. This summer, he’s
leaving Brown University to become direc-
tor of the new Wyss Center for Bio- and
Neuro-Engineering in Geneva, Switzerland.
Q: What’s the new Wyss center’s mission?
A: The goal is to make neuroprosthetics
that will be practical in the real world. A
lot of times we do things that look really
cool to the media, but are they something
that will help people in everyday life?
Q: Does Europe provide a more stable
environment for neuroscience research?
A: The U.S. has absolutely extraordinary
scientists and neuroscience is amazing
here. I am a little disappointed that the
U.S. is not investing
as heavily as other
countries, though. If you
look at countries that
are investing heavily in
industry, education, and
science, it’s Germany
Q: Ofcially you are on a 1-year sabbati-
cal from Brown. Will you go back?
A: I don’t know. I love Brown, and I
never thought I would even think of going
someplace else, but to have the chance to
shape something like this—it’s hard to turn
something that wonderful down.
New Zealand plans to
poison stoats and rats
to save the brown kiwi
and other native birds.
Battle for the birds
New Zealand is beginning its larg- est pest control effort, aimed at protecting native birds, bats, and snails across more than 708,000 hectares on the south island. The
plan is a response to a massive abundance
of beech seed, which began in March,
due to 2 years of favorable weather. The
bumper crop is predicted to cause “a
plague of rodents of biblical proportions,”
said Conservation Minister Nick Smith in a
statement. Once the rats and stoats finish
the seed, they will likely hunt native species. To knock down the rodent population,
workers will set traps and drop poison by
helicopter in 29 forests until November.
Although the toxic bait, laced with sodium
monofluoroacetate, is formulated to
minimize deaths to deer and birds, some
environmental and farming groups object
to its use. The effort will cost between
NZ$9 million and NZ$12 million, part of a
5-year, NZ$21 million campaign.