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Will You Do it for Cash?


The issue of cancer researchers accidentally using the wrong cell lines in their work has become increasingly problematic, and one of the biggest reasons is that researchers themselves don't seem too keen on developing new cells lines free of these problems. But the Chordoma Foundation may have a solution, says The Wall Street Journal's Amy Dockser Marcus — cash. The foundation's co-founder, Josh Sommer, himself a chordoma survivor, experienced the problem of mislabeled cell lines while an undergraduate at Duke. "During the course of the research, the scientists became suspicious that some of the cell lines might not be chordoma at all," Marcus says. "Testing confirmed their hunch: Only two of the six they tested was actually chordoma. (One of the misidentified cell lines wasn't even human; it turned out to be from a mouse.)" After going through and examining their cell lines, the researchers were left with two valid chordoma cell lines — not diverse enough to do thorough research with.

In 2010, the foundation launched a contest, offering $10,000 to any researcher who could help develop more reliable chordoma cell lines. "And now, there's a winner: Beate Rinner at the Medical University of Graz, Austria is getting the $10,000 prize," Marcus says. The foundation plans to keep paying out for validated cell lines. The prize, Sommer tells Marcus, is an "incentive."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.