Do journals do a good job of finding appropriate peers to review papers? Are editors always in the best place to decide the fate of a paper based on a severely limited sampling of peer reports?
Aswin Sai Narain Seshasayee
Peer-review had a role to play when journals were all in print and competing for subscription real estate, but today it may be little more than a vestige of the print era.
Can India’s education policy empower students to pursue questions in stem-cell biology after having graduated with degrees in computer science and music? It ought to.
There is an onus on all of us to have a stake in the scientific enterprise, understand its philosophy and practice and see how well it may be put to use, to make us more prosperous and knowledgeable.
The paperfuge can generate a force 30,000-times that of gravity – more than sufficient for a wide range of lab experiments. And it costs Rs 14.
Phylogenetics compares the genomes of extant organisms to reconstruct their ancestries, and their impact on humans. This is not very different from comparing languages and finding common or different origins between them.
In the microscopic world, cells are economies balancing a variety of chemical and physical inputs towards maximising growth and chances of producing progeny.
Pelagibacter ubique is one of the most abundant bacteria on the planet and has also evolved to possess one of the smallest genomes in nature. Is there a link between these traits?
We have hit a roadblock when it comes to finding the full range of microbes that surround us and inhabit us. From here on out, progress can be made only by innovation.
Many bacterial genomes carry genes essential to life as well as a lot of chaff. Given a bacterium of a certain type, can we determine the set of genes essential to its life?
Anyone who thinks that a scientifically acceptable unifying theory, explaining all life in its gory details, can be propounded to solve all our problems is being unreasonable.
It’s amazing what bacteria will do to keep themselves, or others of their kind, alive.
India has been polio-free for five years now – the last case having been reported in January 2011 in Howrah, West Bengal – and the ‘Pulse Polio’ campaign in its present form is being wound down.
Everyone can now read scientific papers, warts and all. For students in less prosperous universities and colleges, this has become a new opportunity to know what is happening at the frontline.
A tool used by biologists to study evolution is called phylogenetics, in which the scientist attempts to make connections among extant species based on a set of measurable properties.
Resistance is here to stay but it needn’t be apocalyptic. The challenge for the human mind is to keep pace with it and keep a continuing stream of new antibiotics with novel properties flowing.
The National Biotechnology Development Strategy makes a lot of the right noises. However, at this point, it is silent on how its programmes will be implemented.
With great confidence and supposed vision, we decided that infectious diseases were a done deal, and research funding for these areas were curtailed. Unfortunately, we did not factor in evolution.
The molecular processes leading to such devastating human diseases are an extension of a fundamental paradigm represented by obscure bacteria-eating viruses.
In a manner not too different from societies and cultures of today, the genetic material of most organisms is also a mosaic, containing genes and other elements of foreign origin.
Genetic engineering and horizontal gene transfer are phrases that have been used with delight by scare-mongers with limited appreciation of subtleties essential to their understanding.
Much of our current understanding of bacterial biology came about not by a blinkered vision of applied research but from decades of attempting to answer fundamental questions.