Research News – 3

Aiding woodworms for destruction: Scientists in the USA has isolated wood digesting enzymes yet another time. The mollusk attacks ships and scientists were wondering how an organism which lacks enzymes in its gut could accomplish this feat. They discovered a symbiotic relationship between a bacteria living in its gill and the mollusk. A few years ago, experiment was done in ruminants using a fistula which gave access to the rumen through a tube; wood chips were implanted in the rumen of a cow and its degradation was monitored. The metagenomic analysis of the gut microbiota was published in a Science paper.

Gut Virome: In this article, scientists discover that the naturally occurring viruses in our guts contributes to better health, at least in mice which lacked their bacterial microbiota. At last there is a virus which is not scorned at by humans !
The measure of scientific merit – In this editorial article, the editor-in-chief of Science magazine, Marcia McNutt, derides the use of impact factors to recruit young researchers in universities. She writes:

Perhaps there has been too much emphasis on bibliometric measures that either distort the process or minimally distinguish between qualified candidates. What if, instead, we assess young scientists according to their willingness to take risks, ability to work as part of a diverse team, creativity in complex problem-solving, and work ethic? There may be other attributes like these that separate the superstars from the merely successful. It could be quite insightful to commission a retrospective analysis of former awardees with some career track record since their awards, to improve our understanding of what constitutes good selection criteria. One could then ascertain whether those qualities were apparent in their backgrounds when they were candidates for their awards.

Stutter article: Interesting article about self determination from a person who used to stutter. She writes: “Sometimes, the things you struggle the most, I have realised, end up making who you are”.

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