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This Week in Science 2018–04–29


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/04/29

“A new article in the journal Science urges researchers to connect with local Indigenous communities when designing studies on genetic material from ancient human remains.

The science of paleogenomics — studying the DNA of ancient life — has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few decades but researchers are still grappling with some of the ethical dilemmas it raises.

Dr. Jessica Bardill, an assistant professor at Concordia University in Montreal and one of the article’s seven co-authors, said involving Indigenous communities in research is a win-win situation.”


“One of biology’s great mysteries is how a single fertilized egg gives rise to the multitude of cell types, tissues, and organs that fit together to make a body. Now, a combination of single-cell sequencing technologies and computational tools is providing the most detailed picture yet of this process. In three papers online in Science this week, researchers report taking multiple snapshots of gene activity in most of the cells in developing zebrafish or frog embryos. They then assembled those data, taken at intervals of just minutes to hours, into coherent, cell-by-cell histories of how those embryos take shape.

“My first reaction was, ‘Wow!’” says developmental biologist Robert Zinzen of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology. Just last week, two other papers online in Science traced cell-by-cell gene activity in planaria, simple flatworms, as they regenerated after being cut into pieces. In vertebrates, “the complexity is much higher,” Zinzen notes.

Yet the researchers managed to track the emerging identities of thousands of cells and their progeny. “I think the future of development will be to routinely single-cell sequence embryos,” says Detlev Arendt, an evolutionary developmental biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.”


“The economic landscape is changing rapidly across our province, our country, and the world — work environments are now characterized by exponential innovation, much of it in the application and use of technology.

As organizations manage this shift, people who can interpret, analyze, and apply the findings are becoming essential to nearly every industry. The challenge is now to ensure that people are able to develop and update the right skills and knowledge throughout their careers in order to succeed.

The University of Calgary is meeting the challenges of our data-driven world by launching two new short-term graduate-level programs that will prepare students — many of them mid-career professionals — to succeed in the fast-growing areas of data science and business analytics. In the future, there may be the opportunity to apply these credentials towards completion of a master’s level program.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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