Gene editing in farm animals: don’t bet the farm on this pig in a poke

“It is very worrying not only to read about yet another blunder by the industrial farming sector (Pigs in the pink: gene editing is set to revolutionise the farming industry, 17 March) but also that the article didn’t attempt to counterbalance with a different viewpoint. It is well known that healthy, agroecological, farming systems support healthy animals and plants that are then, by and large, resilient to disease. The solution for a sick animal is not to edit genes, because this does not address the cause of the problem and only makes it worse, as the ill health will only find a different way to express itself. In the meantime we are supporting unhealthy farming systems and their associated diseases, and consuming sick pigs.”

This is a fairly good article addressing a problem in the promise of gene editing.

Thoughts?

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Competition for the “best” REU applicants is outrageous

“Do you have a a high quality REU program? Do you know that your mentorship and research opportunities can put your REU students on a path towards success in STEM? Then how about you stop fighting with other REU programs over the students with the most amazing applications, and instead invest your time and effort into students who might not have another opportunity? Know that you’re actually making a difference.”

In another awesome piece at Small Pond Science, Terry McGlynn writes about the pressure for Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs to get the “best” students. Getting an REU is not the same as getting an early career grant, but it does put on you the path to future success. And I agree, looking for the most competitive students might be further disadvantaging under represented students.

Read the full piece here.undergrad.jpeg.

Bats are making a comeback!

BOY do I wish I could tie this article to the DC universe. However, the report that bats are making a comeback from the white-nose syndrome that decimated populations should be good news enough.

Especially given that some species have experienced a near total collapse: Little brown bat populations have been decimated by about 90 percent, while tricolored and northern long-eared bats are suffering losses of around 97 percent.

Want to know about the multi tiered approach to eradicating or at least combating this disease? Read about it here.

SIERRA good news for bats cave WB

Congress just allocated $1.6 billion to build 33 miles of new barriers around the refuge in the Rio Grande Valley. These wall sections — a compromise to assuage President Trump, who wants a wall across the entire border — are expected to disrupt several other protected parcels of land home to rare animals, plants, and birds, including the National Butterfly Center, a state park, and several other tracts of land in the federal wildlife refuge system.

Want to know more about how the border wall will impact butterflies? Read about it here.

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Want to crowdfund your science? New study hints at who is successful

A study on how to best fund your studies. Very meta.

But seriously, as most governmental forms of funding are drying up, scientist are by necessity trying to figure out how to fund their research. And crowd funding has become an increasingly interesting option.

So, are you/your study well suited for this funding avenue? Read about it herecrowdfunding.jpg!

 

Defying writing conventions

“A good writer knows the conventions that their reader expects. Then they slavishly follow these conventions 95% of the time so the reader doesn’t get distracted by convention violations and instead keep their attention on what you’re trying to communicate. A good writer also occasionally and very deliberately violates these conventions as a sort of exclamation to highlight and emphasize points.”

Want to help figure out when it’s a good idea to defy and when it’s a good idea to fall in line?

Take this poll, or dread about it here.

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