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A Challenge for Scientists

Progress is important in science, but true progress is attained through "criticism, skepticism and debate," writes John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific advisor, in New Scientist. "Great" researchers challenge the status quo, but only if they have the facts and evidence to back themselves up, Beddington says, and if their challenge stands up to scrutiny, they should be "celebrated." But researchers should also be careful that they don't become "fixated on divergence," especially in the face of consensus that has been built on evidence and fact, he adds. Uncertainty in science will always exist, but researchers shouldn't be afraid of communicating them. "Indeed, as scientists we must be more transparent, more open to describing the gaps in our knowledge," Beddington says. "Skepticism is the driving force for further discovery and better evidence." The challenge is in making both evidence and uncertainty public so that the research community can better challenge those who misuse scientific evidence to their own ends, he adds.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.