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Garage Biology Bad for Science?

Oscillator's Christina Agapakis blogs about projects, like DIYbio, "that aim to 'democratize' scientific research." While she acknowledges that DIYbio has spurred growth in scientific participation and "unparalleled" enthusiasm, she asks, "Who is benefitting from the push for DIYbio?... Who can afford to do unpaid work in the first place, not to even mention self-funded research in molecular biology?" Agapakis says that DIYbio might actually perpetuate social divisions in science in its efforts to dismantle them. "Science isn't and shouldn't be the sport of the privileged," she writes, adding that anyone can do science, and while "garage biotechnologists and grad school dropouts will likely come up with powerful technologies and perhaps even empires to rival those of Microsoft, Apple, and Google," for science to be "truly democratic," emphasis should be placed on open, shared work within institutions across "academic or industrial barriers."

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.