TS Picks: February 26, 2015

GM animals; citizen-scientists; strange standard reference materials

Tracy Vence
Feb 25, 2015

Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human hostWIKIMEDIA, JAMES GATHANY/CDC

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Examining malaria-fighting mosquitoes and Atlantic salmon, among other things, BBC News this week (February 25) asked: “Is the world ready for GM animals?”
  • Analyzing research contributions by citizen-scientists, Georgia Tech’s Henry Sauermann and Chiara Franzoni of Politecnico di Milano in Italy found that “most contributors participate only once and with little effort, leaving a relatively small share of users who return responsible for most of the work,” they wrote in PNAS last month (January 5). “We need to understand how citizen science works and that it’s more promising for some projects than for others,” Sauermann told Discover’s Inkfish this week (February 24). “And organizers need to spend some time thinking about how to build good projects, and getting and keeping users involved.”
  • Smithsonian this week (February 24) took a look at “the weird world of standard reference materials” used by scientists, including a $761 jar of peanut butter sold by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.