A drug to stop CRISPR-Cas9, Cell

CRISPR–Cas9 provides a relatively simple way to make precise changes to genomes. But the system can also make unwanted alterations, particularly if the Cas9 enzyme — which binds to and cuts DNA — remains active for long periods of time. Amit Choudhary at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues developed molecular ‘screens’ that allowed them to sift through more than 10,000 compounds in search of those that inhibit Cas9’s activity.

The ability to switch off and on gene editing allows researchers to design new experiments, whereas currently most studies can knock out a particular gene since the beginning of the experiment, it's possible now to inhibit the editing until the knock out is desired. This discovery also has another great value. There has been fear of a CRISPR virus engineered to attach human population with particular gene expression. Now, we finally have a drug which can act as the brake of the editing, in case of the emergence of any CRISPR-related threats.

5G Network Might Mess Up Weather Forecast

The world is now moving to adopt the next-generation communications network called 5G. As the technology matured, policy makers, namely the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the US, is now about to determine at which frequency 5G communication will take place. The recent FCC auction involved 2 groups of frequencies: one between 24.25 and 24.45 gigahertz and the other between 24.75 and 25.25 gigahertz. However, the news raised great objections from a seemingly irrelevant group of people: meteorologists.
This is because the signals from the 5G network might interfere with weather data if the frequency ranges are close to each other. Meteorologists rely on signals from certain frequencies to measure important parameters in weather. For example, water vapor in the atmosphere emits a faint signal at 23.8 GHz, and weather satellites monitor energy radiating from Earth at this frequency to assess humidity in the atmosphere below. The signal was so reliable that the measurement could be taken during the day or at night, even if clouds are present. However, having 5G communication at similar frequency might interfere with this data signal from water vapor and the weather station might receive your snapchat story and think it is high humidity air. The problem is worsened by the fact that the US is such a huge communication market and policy makers would allow the noise of 5G communication in US to be 150 times more than the European standard.
Astronomers, meteorologists and other scientists have long worked to share the spectrum with other users, sometimes shifting to different frequencies to prevent conflicts. “This is the first time we’ve seen a threat to what I’d call the crown jewels of our frequencies — the ones that we absolutely must defend come what may”, says Stephen English, a meteorologist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK.

Male Authors’ “Vague” Language Favored by Grant Reviewers

It is a sad but well-known fact that male scientists tend to be more successful than their female counterparts these days and also more likely to receive grants. However, even when the reviewers do not know the gender of the grant applicant, male scientists are still more likely to receive the grants. A new study by Julian Kolev from the Southern Methodist University in Texas suggested that the reason for this might lie in the difference in the types of words male and female applicants use in their application.
Kolev’s analysis looked at almost 7,000 proposals submitted to the Grand Challenges Explorations program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation between 2008 and 2017. The fund awarded grants of between $100,000 and $1 million to address challenges in global health and the grant reviewers were blind to the gender of the applicants. The team found that women received significantly lower scores from reviewers than men did, which couldn’t be explained by the applicants’ experience, publications record or the gender of the reviewers. Instead, it was their communication style in the proposal that made the difference.
The researchers found that men tended to use ‘broad’ words, such as “control”, “detection” and “bacteria”, more often. By contrast, women favored ‘narrower’ or more topic-specific terms, such as “community”, “oral” and “brain”. The authors linked broad words to higher review scores, and narrow ones with lower scores.
However, though sweeping claims made by male scientists with broader terms might sound appealing to the reviewers, they did not eventually result in work that led to more publications and future grants. In fact, when women secured funding, they generally outperformed men on these measures. Thus, the researchers suggested that grant reviewers should be trained to limit their sensitivity to communication styles and more female reviewers should also be involved in the grant reviewing process.

Image of the week: Thousand-hour Photo.

The picture above captured the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy that orbits our Milky Way. It was the work of five amateur astronomers from France. Between July 2017 and January 2019, the team observed the galaxy from the El Sauce Observatory in Chile, and then stitched the images together to form this single high-resolution photo. In total, the exposure time it took to capture this image was 1060 hours.
No, this is not from UCSD School of Communication. It's by UCSD Neuroscience.
Quote of the week: It seems that everyone in this school is smarter than you are, except your group members in a project.
ISP Sci. Rev. 19 (2019)
Editor: Rossoneri Jing, Shiwei Wang
Integrated Science Program
Northwestern University

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