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The Pandemic and Women in STEM

The pandemic may be having a particularly hard effect on women working in science, technology, engineering, and medicine, the New York Times reports.

Even before COVID-19, it notes that women in STEM grappled with sexism and discrimination, particularly if they had small children, and now with the pandemic, many women in STEM have had to juggle the demands of remote work for themselves and school for their children. New studies have indicated that women have written fewer papers and led fewer studies during this time, which could have later career ramifications, it notes. 

"The confluence of all of these factors creates this perfect storm. People are at their breaking point," the University of Florida's Michelle Cardel tells the Times. "My big fear is that we are going to have a secondary epidemic of loss, particularly of early career women in STEM."

The Times notes that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic may especially be felt by scientists of color as they shoulder additional biases in the workplace and as the pandemic has hit Black and Latino communities harder.

The Scan

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.

SpliceVault Portal Provides Look at RNA Splicing Changes Linked to Genetic Variants

The portal, described in Nature Genetics, houses variant-related messenger RNA splicing insights drawn from RNA sequencing data in nearly 335,700 samples — a set known as the 300K-RNA resource.

Automated Sequencing Pipeline Appears to Allow Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Lineage Detection in Nevada Study

Researchers in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describe and assess a Clear Labs Dx automated workflow, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis method for quickly identifying SARS-CoV-2 lineages.

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.