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Something to Talk About


Saving Your Job

With the uncertain economy, there have been rumblings about layoffs and takeovers. At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe has a bit of job news: he heard that there will be chemistry layoffs at Pfizer come the fall, and that a potential Roche takeover of Genentech has gotten the latter's employees to look elsewhere for gainful employment. Lowe also doles out some advice on how to keep your job from being sent abroad: start generating ideas and doing more difficult chemistry. "You have to bring something that can't be purchased so easily overseas," he writes.

The Summer of George

George Church exploded onto the mainstream scene recently. A profile in Wired shows the winding path that his career has taken. (That same article, as noted by the Genetic Genealogist, unmasked the Personal Genome Project's tenth participant: Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.) In an interview with Charlie Rose, Church says that people should initially have low expectations of personal genomics. Valleywag also notes that one of Church's many advisory roles is with 23andMe, and that one of the co-founders of that company, Anne Wojcicki, is married to Sergey Brin of Google, which has backed Church's PGP.

Be Whatever You Like

New York Times blogger John Tierney examines applying Title IX, the law banning sexual discrimination in education, to the sciences. The National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Energy have been looking for instances of sexual discrimination at universities receiving federal funds by examining lab space and interviewing researchers. Critics worry this will lead to a quota system for women in science. A blogger at Adaptive Complexity writes that having quotas "would certainly make women second-class citizens in science, because they could never be judged on their own merit."

Deleting Darwinism

With anticipation mounting for the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection (and his 200th birthday), the man himself takes center stage. A blogger at 3 Quarks Daily links to videos of Richard Dawkins discussing his hero. But it's a suggestion of Olivia Judson's that catches on; she wants to get rid of the term "Darwinism." The 3 Quarks Daily blog jumps on the bandwagon, as do Evolgen, Larry Moran at Sandwalk, and Mike the Mad Biologist. "Modern evolutionary biology has gone way beyond Darwin's original ideas and it's no longer appropriate to describe the modern ideas as 'Darwinian,'" writes Moran.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.