Monday, February 25, 2013

Assorted links: predictable evolution, why the US government maybe the best thing for open access, and the lab junk drawer

A few interesting places to start the week. Probably these are worthy of full blog posts, if only I had the time.

A recently published paper in PLOS Biology shows that in multiple experiments, independent  populations of E. coli showed similar processes driving adaptive diversification. That is, similar ecotypes of E. coli arose from different populations, sometimes as a result of the exact same mutations at the same nucleotide position. A really cool result.

Good news on the open access front - the US government revealed a new policy stating that publications from taxpayer-funded research should be made free to read after a year’s embargo. It will remain to be seen how this plays out for most researchers, but it appears to be an important step, and one inline with European policies. It seems like steps made by big governments and universities will ultimately be what will create a new normal in publishing.

Why do biology labs tend to have hoarder-esque tendencies? Even newish labs seem to have a junk drawer of equipment that may or may not work inherited from past tenants, half used primers, ancient samples in a freezer somewhere, and more sharpies that don't work than do. An amusing list of the usual suspects was complied in this comment thread.

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