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A Subtle Bias

Academic scientists show subtle bias against female students, a new report in PNAS from Yale University researchers says. The researchers, led by Jo Handelsman, examined whether faculty members perceived or treated equally qualified male and female students differently by presenting 127 biology, chemistry, and physics professors with an application from an undergraduate seeking a laboratory manager position. The application was randomly assigned a male or female name. "Both male and female faculty judged a female student to be less competent and less worthy of being hired than an identical male student, and also offered her a smaller starting salary and less career mentoring," the researchers write. They add that "academic policies and mentoring interventions targeting undergraduate advisors could contribute to reducing the gender disparity."

At Cosmic Variance, physicist Sean Carroll writes that the results aren't that surprising, though he notes that "it's good to accumulate new evidence," especially as the bias appears to have real-world implications in salary offers. "I have no reason to think that scientists are more sexist than people in other professions in the US, but this is my profession, and I'd like to see it do better. Admitting that the problem exists is a good start," he adds.

The Scan

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.

Tumor Microenvironment Immune Score Provides Immunotherapy Response, Prognostic Insights

Using multiple in situ analyses and RNA sequence data, researchers in eBioMedicine have developed a score associated with immunotherapy response or survival.

CRISPR-Based Method for Finding Cancer-Associated Exosomal MicroRNAs in Blood

A team from China presents in ACS Sensors a liposome-mediated membrane fusion strategy for detecting miRNAs carried in exosomes in the blood with a CRISPR-mediated reporter system.

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.