Back when I was blogging regularly, and when I was writing more about science news and less about the woes of being a PhD student I did a few round ups of interesting things I had read that week which I didn’t have the time to write an entire blog post of. Given how much stuff I’ve managed to stray across this week (mainly because I seem to be back on Twitter, after a long hiatus) I thought it was time for another one. Continue reading
Posted in Round Up, Science
Tagged biology, elephant, feminism, In the news, misogyny, open access, other blogs, public outreach, science, weekly round up, women in science
Here are a few odds and ends that have caught my eye over the last day or two to finish the week with.
The 523Mb draft genome for banana, Musa acuminata, has been released (more on that later) in a paper in Nature by D’Hont et al and with it this awesome Venn Diagram comparing the genes that are homologous between banana and some other important plants. (Arabidopsis is the model species for all plants – the equivalent of a lab mouse; Brachypodium is the model for grasses; Oryza is rice).
Posted in Biology, Genetics, Just me, Science
Tagged crops, genetics, genomics, other blogs, science, science communication, science journalism, scientists, weekly round up, women in science
These are just a handful of stories that have caught my eye this week, that I haven’t had time to write a proper post about.
Government still positive about GM research, but no plans to relax legislation
David Willetts, the UK Science Minister gave an interview to the Telegraph prior to a meeting of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council to share his thoughts about agricultural research. He was supportive of GM research, which he said the government would continue to fund, and the Rothamsted trial in particular, although he also pointed out that plenty of research is not transgenic and emphasised that the government does not plan to change its position on GM crops to a more permissive one.
Biologists don’t like equations!
Dr Tim Fawcett and Dr Andrew Higginson from the University of Bristol have published a study in PNAS suggesting that biologists are prone to overlook equation-dense papers in favour of those that are less maths-heavy. For each additional equation, inequality or mathematical expression per page papers were on average cited 28% fewer times. Other theoretical papers were more likely to cite the equation dense manuscripts, but since the majority of papers are practical and these authors were less likely to cite papers relying heavily on mathematical theory, the overall effect on citation is a negative one.
Iconic sexual selection paper called into question
The single most cited paper in the study of sexual selection has been called into question by a new study by Prof. Patricia Gowaty from UCLA. ‘Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila‘ was published in 1948 and has made it into the bibliography of some 1385 journal papers (according to Web of Science); yet it may be fatally flawed in its method. The study predates genetic methods of tracking parentage, and so fly offspring were assigned parents on the basis of their inheritance of unique mutations. Unfortunately the study failed to account for the skew in results caused by only scoring flies with two distinct mutations, and the potentially lethal effects of some of those mutation combinations.
It’s been a busy few days, and in the meantime lots of other people (who may be more articulate than I am right now) have done some great coverage of the Take the Flour Back protest, and GM stuff in general. I kinda want to get out of my little Rothamsted loop and talk about something else, so here are some links to articles and blog pieces I enjoyed.
Posted in Biology, Environmentalism, Science
Tagged activists, biology, food security, genetics, GM, other blogs, scepticism, science, science communication, scientists, TtFB, weekly round up