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Things Not Found

PLOS launched a collection last week, dubbed 'Missing Pieces', to highlight research it has published that presents negative results.

Much published scientific work is prone to publication bias in which positive results or dramatic results are more likely to be published, notes Julia Belluz at Vox. "If science were a TV show, it would be a lot more like Modern Family than Breaking Bad: the promising and positive results from studies are usually on display, not the dark, ambiguous underbelly of negative and inconclusive research findings," she says.

This, PLOS notes, leads to the duplication of efforts and wastes both time and money.

"The publication of negative results is vitally important for many reasons, not least that it helps prevent duplication of research effort and potentially expedites the process of finding positive results," says a post at the PLOS EveryOne Community blog. "However, the struggle to find a home to publish the work, and the effort necessary to submit and publish what can feel like negligible scientific contributions, has led to concerns that negative findings are becoming the missing pieces in the scientific literature."

Currently, the Missing Pieces collection includes studies on the failure of a microRNA signature to distinguish between lethal and indolent prostate cancer, the inability of mitochondrial DNA to act as a biomarker for innate immune activation in HIV infection, and more.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.