Sydney Brenner, the man who discovered mRNA and STOP codons and made C. elegans a model organism par excellence, has died. Brenner received his doctoral degree from the University of Oxford then went on to conduct research at King’s College, University of Cambridge. Later, Brenner moved to Caltech where he discovered mRNA with Francois Jacob. In 2002, he won the Nobel Prize for his genetic work with C. elegans.

Cancer geneticists are coming to grips with a major shortcoming in their research: “most studies and genetic databases are populated mainly by data from people of European descent. This knowledge gap exacerbates disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes around the world.” Researchers are only now beginning to address the problem. For example a new study announced last year and about to begin recruiting participants, aims to enrol 10,000 African American men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The US$26.5-million effort is funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

The Nile River in Egypt is an important source of biodiversity in Africa. To date, much of the river remains unprotected and the basin is surprisingly understudied. Now, a team of researchers are hoping to address those problems and help conservation efforts by addressing the gaps by creating a basin-wide conservation plan for the Nile’s freshwater fish. In turn, they identified priority areas for conservation action.

Last year in New York City, the Metropolitan Transport Authority conducted tests using facial recognition software and cameras placed on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The results of the proof of concept experiment were staggering and all for the wrong reasons. A total of 0% of faces were adequately identified. Talk about not being ready for showtime.

A study done by scientists at the University of Colorado found that the microbiomes of sexual partners had the potential to alter each other’s bacterial makeup. The type of sex — anal or vaginal — also proved important in microbiota alterations. The study was done in mice bred to lack microbiomes. We’re not sure how to take this, but thought you might want to know.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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