Week in Review: April 24–28

Where Zika virus persists in monkeys; more-advanced mini brains; artificial womb supports fetal lambs for weeks; cancer mutations in stem cell lines; science marches around the globe

Tracy Vence
Apr 28, 2017

Zika’s hideouts

Zika virus can remain in the cerebrospinal fluid and lymph nodes of rhesus monkeys long after any symptoms have dissipated, researchers at Harvard Medical School reported in Cell this week (April 27). “Up until now, everyone was focused on the acute [infection]—what happens when a person gets infected initially by a mosquito bite. But what this paper tells us is that maybe, two months down the line, symptoms could manifest from this later stage of virus replication in the central nervous system and other sites,” Andres Pekosz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore who was not involved in the research told The Scientist. “Right now, we may be missing some of the disease associated with infection because we’re not looking far enough down the path.”

More-advanced mini brains

Two groups of scientists have developed some of the most-advanced mini brains, or organoids,...

Science marches

Tens of thousands of people marched for science worldwide last weekend (April 22). The Scientist spoke with demonstrators in Berlin, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Many indicated it was their first time speaking publicly about the importance of science. “I’ve never done this and I am so excited to be here,” caterer Peggy Mikros told The Scientist at the Chicago march, adding that the event has inspired her to continue advocating for science.

After the DC march, Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an organization that partnered with the March for Science, said he felt the event was a success—even before people arrived in the nation’s capital to demonstrate.

In case you missed them, check out The Scientist’s video footage from the national march, plus a selection of signs from science supporters we spoke with on the ground in Berlin, Chicago, and DC.

Tomorrow (April 29), some science supporters will take to the streets of DC once more, for the People’s Climate March on Washington.

Other news in life science

Artificial Womb Supports Premature Fetal Lamb Development
The lungs of extremely premature lambs supported in a closed, sterile environment that enables fluid-based gas exchange grow and develop normally, researchers report.

Cell Lines Gain Cancer-Related Mutations
A screen of human embryonic stem cell lines finds several that accumulated changes in the gene TP53, including aberrations commonly seen in cancer.

Tissue-Clearing Technique Works on Bone
CLARITY made mouse bones transparent while preserving fluorescent labels so researchers could visualize tagged osteoprogenitors.

Genetic Analysis Reveals the Evolutionary History of Dogs
By analyzing the genomes of 161 dog breeds, scientists discover how and when certain canine breeds emerged.

Another New Timeline for Homo naledi
The ancient human may have lived around 200,000 to 300,000 years ago—much more recently than previously estimated.