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What Scientists Know, and What They Don't

Scientists know a lot about many different subjects, says Janet Stemwedel at the Doing Good Science blog at Scientific American. Since science can be used to make decisions that affect individuals and society, it's important for non-scientists to listen to the people who "are presumed to have the expertise to sort reliable knowledge claims from snake oil," she says. But it's also important to know that not all scientists are experts on every subject, she adds, and asks whether there is "enough of a common core between different areas of science that scientists trained in one area can be trusted to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of work in another scientific area." In her own capacity as a researcher, Stemwedel says she is comfortable calling herself qualified to speak on several different topics, but that even with all of her expertise, she acknowledges that there are things she doesn't know. "Knowing how far the tether of your expertise extends is part of being a responsible scientist," she says.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.