Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what DID the researchers find ?

In last Thursday's Guardian there is a full page in the main section on new research on the epigenome (i.e. the way the information in the genome is regulated). I read the whole page twice and still didn't know anything about what the new research was and what its results were.

The only useful information was that researchers at the Salk institute in California published something in Nature (even that was half wrong, it wasn't in the current issue of Nature, but only online in Nature's advanced online publications).

When the Guardian stopped publishing a weekly science supplement (to which I occasionally contributed), we were promised regular science coverage in the main pages instead. However, what is the use of this coverage if all meaningful content is removed from it? I mean, what is the point of spending a whole page on explaining what the epigenome is and that it may help to cure cancer and schizophrenia (which, by the way, I consider to be just hype, it may or may not do that, just as any fundamental research in the life sciences may help to find a cure for cancer), if we aren't actually told what the researchers did and what they found out?

This amounts to treating the readers as complete idiots, it's like telling them that storks deliver babies. I'll now open a new category in this blog, called storks+babies, dedicated to science reporting that has been simplified to death.

In a hurry, I only found one report that is more informative (even though it's shorter) here.

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