Week in Review: November 3–7

Race to develop Ebola vaccines; contemplating humane rodent euthanasia; sexism in science

Tracy Vence
Nov 7, 2014

Toward an Ebola vaccine

FLICKR, NIAIDA variety of firms—from small biotechs to pharma giants—are working to develop Ebola vaccines and shepherd them through expedited clinical trials in cooperation with global regulatory agencies. This week, The Scientist caught up with the president and CEO of Atlanta-based GeoVax, a seven employee-strong company that hopes to have its Ebola vaccine candidate ready for human trials in 15 to 18 months.

 

“In the world of vaccines, we know from experience, it takes a lot of tries to get it right. It doesn’t happen overnight, and no one group is going to have the perfect vaccine,” said Robert McNally, GeoVax chief executive.

Heritability of the gut microbiome

WIKIMEDIA, TWINSUK

Host genetics can influence the composition of the gut microbiome, according to an analysis of twin study data published in Cell this week. Cornell University’s Ruth Ley and her colleagues showed that the presence...

“We thought perhaps there would be a few taxa here and there that might be heritable, but [a] list popped up, and it started getting more and more interesting,” she told The Scientist.

Considering ethical euthanasia

WIKIMEDIA, JASON SNYDER

An international consortium of ethicists, veterinarians, and lab personnel gathered in Illinois this week to discuss, among other things, humane methods for animal euthanasia at an American Veterinary Medical Foundation conference. The Scientist spoke with experts on the use of anesthetics in advance of killing rodents used in research; whether these drugs help ease the animals’ suffering is up for debate.

 

Other news in life science:

The End of Science Sexism?
A study suggests that, at least in US academia, men and women now receive roughly equivalent treatment in the workplace. The scientific community disagrees.

Stomach in a Dish
Researchers generate the first functional human stomach tissue in vitro.

Study: Scientists Witness Plagiarism Often
A meta-analysis of surveys used to gauge plagiarism among scientists finds that nearly one-third of researchers have witnessed the problem.

Ebola Edits Its Messages
Deep sequencing of viral mRNAs reveals that Ebola and Marburg viruses produce multiple versions of some transcripts.

Snakebites Get DNA Fingerprint Treatment
Researchers have developed a technique for determining the species of snake responsible for a bite by sequencing genetic material from the fang marks.

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