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President Clinton is expected to endorse new laws making it illegal for health insurance companies - which in effect run the healthcare market in the United States - to discriminate against healthy people on the basis of their genes. A report to President Clinton from Donna Shalala, the US Health and Human Services Secretary, is understood to contain a warning that genetic testing's potential benefits may never be realised if people are worried that information discovered by them could be used against them. Legislation is now progressing in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

So it's adios, ADEOS: the $1.2bn (pounds 750m) Advanced Earth Observation Satellite belonging to the Japanese National Space Development Agency (Nasda) appears to have simply run out of power at the end of last month, rather than having been destroyed by a hit from space junk, as was originally thought. Launched less than a year ago, the satellite used sensors from Japan, the US and Europe, and had been working on mapping Arctic ozone depletion using the US space agency Nasa's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (Toms). Japan's Nasda said it was "surprised" by the incident, which is increasingly being blamed on a design flaw in the mechanism that kept its solar panel under the right tension and alignment to catch the sun. Without enough sunlight, the satellite shut itself off. Nasa called the loss "a real blow to our space programme".

British universities had a funding shortfall of pounds 440m for research between the academic years 1994/5 and 1995/6, says a report by the management consultancy Segal Quince Wicksteed. The report, one of a growing number that have pointed to a gap between the money provided and the output wanted, was commissioned by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

A team of scientists at Yale University has managed to transform a protein that normally forms loose, flat sheets into tightly-packed corkscrews. That is the putative mechanism for one explanation of diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and "mad cow" disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy); but this is not quite that breakthrough. The work, reported in the latest edition of Nature Structural Biology, consisted of changing about half of the 60 amino acids in a protein known as B1, which normally "conforms" - takes the shape of - flat sheets, and replacing them with those from another protein, called Rop, which forms helical shapes. Eventually they had a protein which had 60 per cent of the amino acids of the B1 protein, yet formed a helical shape. It could be very useful in designing drugs made with proteins; it could also be a step towards explaining how proteins alone may change shape. And it won the Yale team a $1,000 bet; the task had been set by George Rose, a biochemist at the University of Kentucky in Lexingtonn

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