Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

'Point,' 'Nonsense,' and Other Citation Mutations

Over at The Scientist, Christian Specht says that, "just like genetic information, citations can accumulate heritable mutations." Wrong citations, Specht writes, "errors in the sequence of letters and numbers that make up the correct citation, including the name of the author or journal, the volume and page numbers or the year of publication" can be incorporated and "can be described in genetic terms and classified as deletions, insertions, point mutations and inversions of characters, or as complete nonsense mutations." In highly cited papers, incorrect citations are "unavoidable" over time, Specht says. However, he suggests that "in the future the number of wrong citations can be minimized by using reference software tools — provided that the database entries are correct in the first place."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.