Online Editorials

Bad Modelling Job?

(February 24th, 2015) In recent years, the trillions of bacteria living in our guts have risen from obscurity to stardom. They are thought to affect almost everything, from our mood to health and disease. Studies often involve mice but are these rodents really an appropriate model?

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“Motivating Institutions to Introduce RRI into their Strategies is a Major Challenge”

(February 20th, 2015) Bringing together scientists, citizens, policy makers and businesses to solve society’s complex problems is the goal of Responsible Research and Innovation, RRI. The abstract concept now gets more specific. We talked to RRI Tools co-ordinator, Ignasi López Verdeguer.

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Illegal Drugs: Time for a Re-think?

(February 17th, 2015) In the 1960s and 70s, the United Nations compiled a list of chemicals harmful to health if used by self-medication. Criticism starts to grow among the medical community who sees this legislation as a barrier to research.

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“Nature Relies on an Interplay of ‘Noise’ and Quantum Mechanics”

(February 13th, 2015) Recently, about 40 researchers gathered in Brussels to discuss an emerging subfield of biology, quantum biology. Martin Plenio, physicist at the University of Ulm, explains how quantum biology can give us new insight into a world we thought we knew.

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A Matter of Interpretation

(February 10th, 2015) “Functional” - what does it mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “functional” is defined as "of or having a special activity, purpose or task". DNA is functional, too. But how is controversially discussed. A new paper adds more fuel to the fire.

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“Cryo-EM will Make a very big Difference”

(February 6th, 2015) It is rumoured that structural biology is undergoing a revolution. Once dominated by X-ray crystallography methods, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is now transforming the field. Sjors Scheres is one of the driving forces behind this revolution.

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Fighting Irreproducibility

(February 3rd, 2015) Considering publishing your next research article in one of the PLoS journals? If your answer is yes, then you should know about the launch of a new initiative at PLoS Biology and PLoS Genetics – the Research Resource Identification Initiative.

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Is Ribosome the new 42?

(January 30th, 2015) Some 3.5 billion years ago, the first organisms embraced life on planet earth. A primitive envelope girded a primitive genome to make the simplest living cell. But could a loner genome account for all the complexity of the living cell – survival, sustenance and procreation?

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Treats for Reviewers and Editors

(January 27th, 2015) Undue incentive or overdue reward? The not-for-profit, multidisciplinary journal Collabra, belonging to the University of California Open Press, plans to remunerate its reviewers and editors with some pocket money.

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The Secret of a Longer Life? Kill your Unfit Cells.

(January 23rd, 2015) If you had the choice, would you like to live until you’re 130 years old? New research in fruit flies shows that manipulating a single gene can extend their life span up to 60%, suggesting that living well into your hundreds might become a reality in the foreseeable future.

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Scratching the Surface in Cancer

(January 20th, 2015) Patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, a chronic skin-blistering condition, are highly vulnerable to skin cancers. New research sheds light on the mechanism underlying tumour progression in skin abrasions and how antibiotics may serve as a surprising solution.

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The Lonely Mouse

(January 16th, 2015) Danish researchers found that single-housed lab mice show signs of depression. This might affect their use in clinical studies and could help explain why so many candidate drugs fail in humans. Did we underestimate the complexity of this model organism?

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