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'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

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.