1. Sequencing HeLa the Right Way

    About five months ago, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany published a complete genome sequence for the famous laboratory cell line known as HeLa. The work spurred vociferous shouting that went on for weeks, ultimately spurring the authors to apologize and take the sequence data ...

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  2. Universal Flu Vaccines: Already Here?

    Public health is a thankless job, and influenza vaccination campaigns are among most thankless projects within it. Every year, legions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and public officials browbeat everyone to get a flu shot. These well-meaning folks fling themselves against deeply entrenched fears of injections and doctors, general public paranoia ...

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  3. Welcome to The Turbid Plaque

    In 1915, the director of a veterinary hospital in London was trying to grow viruses in his lab. At the time, researchers had a general idea that viruses were some kind of ultra-small microbes. They caused diseases, but could pass through filters fine enough to remove all known bacteria. Unfortunately ...

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  4. On “Leaving Science”

    I follow news about the science job market pretty closely, but perhaps the most reliable indicator I have of it isn’t in my RSS folder or Twitter feed. It’s my inbox. When graduate students and postdocs start to think their future is especially bleak, I start getting more ...

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  5. The DSM-5: What’s Your Alternative?

    Last week, Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) made an announcement that set science bloggers and medicine-watchers atwitter:

    In a few weeks, the American Psychiatric Association will release its new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This volume will tweak ...

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  6. Poo and Shit, Revisited

    Correspondent Bob has provided an interesting update on some research I did on relative publication rates back in 2010:

    Just as a follow up to your Poo vs Shit analysis, a PubMed search today (11 April 2013) reveals that Shit is on the rise with 23 articles now with A ...

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  7. Threading the NEIDL

    After two long days of shooting and hundreds of hours of editing, the American Society for Microbiology and This Week in Virology are proud to release the documentary “Threading the NEIDL.” This video provides an unprecedented (and probably never-to-be-duplicated) look inside a state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 4 laboratory. BSL-4 labs are ...

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  8. Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad ORF?

    A recent paper in the journal GM Crops and Food has generated an outsized splash in the press, particularly in biotechnology-averse Europe.

    Apparently the genetically modified food crops that hundreds of millions of people around the world have been eating without incident for more than a decade are in fact ...

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