Raising the Yellow Flag (Abstract Science, Feb. 9 – 15)
What are the drawbacks of quarantining cruise ships? Also: CRISPR editing and AI awareness
(Julia Belluz, Vox, 2/12/20)
The author discusses the ramifications of recent quarantines of cruise ships affected by the coronavirus. Some experts argue that quarantining ship crew and passengers onboard could lead to more disease cases, not less. Crew cannot be properly isolated, and the forced proximity in a structure that wasn’t designed for isolation could lead to faster spread of the infection.
(Heidi Ledford, Nature, 2/10/20)
Researchers have published positive results in tweaks they made to base editing with the CRISPR–Cas9 system. Base editing allows for single letters of a DNA sequence to be swapped out, but in the past the technique had a high probability off target edits, causing unwanted mutations. The new system is shown to be more precise specifically for converting DNA base C to a T.
(Tom Vander Ark, Forbes, 2/12/20)
Given the increased use of AI in most industries, the author argues that AI should be taught more in schools. This will not only benefit future employers but will also benefit individuals who should understand the prevalence of AI in daily life, making them better and safer Internet citizens. Building and using AI is a valuable job skill, but recognizing the AIs that power our everyday tools is crucial for daily life.
—Stories Compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker