TS Picks: September 19, 2016

Human-Neanderthal inbreeding; “personal genetics” is a family matter; studying city-dwelling rats; science reporting without embargoes

Sep 18, 2016
Tracy Vence

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:
 

  • Vox examines our species’ ancient family tree in an attempt to better understand human-Neanderthal interbreeding. “For a long time, the field of human evolution has imagined a fictional world where distinct human groups separated from one another and then remained distinct for long periods of time,” Adam Siepel of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York told Vox. “And we’re just finding out on multiple time scales that’s just not true.”
     
  • At Undark, authors Emily Willingham and Tara Haelle make a case why “personal genetics” is somewhat of a misnomer.
     
  • Michael Parsons of Hofstra University in New York explains his choice to study city-dwelling rats in a post at The Conversation. “We clearly need to know more about urban rats: how they behave, where they travel, when and where they pick up diseases and how long they spread them, how these diseases affect rats’ health and, eventually, how rats transmit infections to humans.” (Hat tip: Smithsonian)
     
  • “Does the EurekAlert! hack show us what a world without embargoes would be like?” asks Ivan Oransky at Embargo Watch. (See “AAAS Press Release Repository Hacked” and “Q&A: Why I Warned AAAS About the Hack,” The Scientist, September 14, 2016).