- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

Chimps, humans differ in use of brain genes

Chimpanzees and humans are remarkably similar in genetic makeup, but the way the two species use those genes in the brain is drastically different, an international research team reports in today's issue of the journal Science.

Researchers say their results demonstrate that at some point in the last 5 million years, the brains of human ancestors experienced an accelerated evolutionary change in the way coded information in genes is activated and then converted into protein signals to carry out cellular functions.

"There were many genetic changes that occurred on the way to developing humans," said Dr. Ajit Varki, a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego and co-author of the study. "This suggests that changes in the brain were one of the main ways humans evolved away from chimps."

Grand jury to probe sex abuse by priests

NEW YORK Expressing concern about a possible cover-up by Long Island's Roman Catholic diocese, a district attorney yesterday announced he was convening a special grand jury to investigate charges of sexual abuse by priests and how the accusations were handled by the church.

"From what we have received by way of information so far, it does appear that there has been a cover-up," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

General picked to head U.S. forces in Europe

Gen. James L. Jones has been chosen to be commander in chief of U.S. forces in Europe, a senior official said yesterday, making him the first Marine picked for the job since it was created after World War II.

In a potentially broader change, officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said the Pentagon is considering merging two major commands the U.S. Space Command, based at Colorado Springs, and the U.S. Strategic Air Command, based at Omaha, Neb.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld also has decided that Gen. John Keane, vice chief of staff of the Army, will replace Gen. Eric Shinseki as Army chief of staff when Gen. Shinseki's term expires in the summer of 2003, the official said.

Killing rampage blamed on child-sex acquittal

DOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. Dominick Galliano was found not guilty of molesting a young neighbor he was baby-sitting. But he was not cleared in the mind of her father.

Edward Lutes Jr. bragged to neighbors that he beat up Mr. Galliano. He posted fliers calling Mr. Galliano a pedophile and installed a spotlight in his yard with an overlay that spelled out: "Every Dad has his day."

Lutes, a policeman on the county SWAT team, shot and killed Mr. Galliano and four other neighbors Tuesday night before killing himself, authorities say. Revenge was the likely motive, a prosecutor said yesterday.

"It was his anger over this matter which, in all probability, led to the murders," prosecutor Gregory Sakowicz said.

NIH signs agreement to buy stem cells

The National Institutes of Health said yesterday it had agreed to use embryonic stem cells produced by an Australian company the first such agreement signed since President Bush issued new guidelines in August on stem-cell use.

Mr. Bush allowed federally funded researchers to use the cells already produced anywhere in the world, but could not themselves destroy any embryos, and could not use any cells produced after his proclamation.

Police clear cardinal of sex-assault charge

FRESNO, Calif. Police dismissed a mentally ill woman's claim yesterday that she was sexually assaulted 32 years ago by Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Lt. Dwayne Johnson said there was no physical evidence or witnesses to support the accusation made last month by Flora Mae Hickman, a paranoid schizophrenic who said she wanted money.

Through a spokesman, Cardinal Mahony said he was grateful to police for their thorough investigation and he was pleased with the result. Miss Hickman insisted yesterday that the incident happened, but said she would not pursue the case.

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