Science News article accurately describes the relevance of research on diapause in African turquoise killifish
The article published in Science News “How African turquoise killifish press the pause button on aging” by Erin Garcia de Jesus reports on a 2020 paper published in the journal Science by Brunet et al. discussing the mechanisms behind the diapause phenomenon in killifish. The research paper “Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members” discusses killifish and their ability to halt their development during droughts to extend their lives and survive when their environments are uninhabitable through a process known as diapause. The researchers found a gene, CBX7, was found to be responsible of turning on genes required to maintain diapause, and knockouts were seen to have significantly lower life expectancy.
Erin Garcia de Jesus clearly identifies the aim of the research article by Brunet et al., mentioning the researcher’s intent as well as why the research is relevant to the general public as well as how its uses can be later expanded. Erin Garcia de Jesus did rely heavily on the original paper as well as some general information about killifish but does not use any information from previous publications or interview other experts on the subject. The authors of the research article were also not directly interviewed or quoted. Despite this, the news article is capable of presenting the information to a lay audience effectively, communicating all the aspects of the paper and emphasizing what is still unknown and the future direction that the researchers will take. The Science News website also provides sufficient information about the author available at a click, as well as easy direct access to the research paper being discussed. The paper also provides more detailed information to individuals familiar with genetic concepts. Overall the article is sufficiently able to explain the information to a lay audience while providing easy to read summaries to experts and effectively reports on the research published in Science.
A news story written by Erin Garcia de Jesus from the website Science News titled, “How African turquoise killifish press the pause button on aging” was written based on the Science research article, “Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members” by Chi-Kuo Hu and colleagues. The intent of the news story was to describe the recent study that used genetics to help better understand how the offspring of an African species of fish, the killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) are able to “put their lives on pause” when their environments dry up.
The news story was well written, it first introduced the main facts of the research article, and then described necessary background information pertinent to the news story, such as the background of African turquoise killifish including what is known about their state of suspended activity called diapause, their habitats, and even examples of other animals that exhibit diapause. The importance of the research was also discussed, such as how this research “could help scientists figure out how to treat aging-related diseases or learn how to preserve human organs long-term”, as quoted from the news story by Anne Brunet, a geneticist from Stanford University, one of the researchers part of this study. The author then described the methods and key results of the research article including the description of genes that are likely involved with diapause.
Throughout the news story, the author included quotes from both the researchers involved with the study, as well as opinions from other experts in the field, such as Christoph Englert, a molecular geneticist at the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena, Germany. The news story concluded by describing what is unknown and what still needs to be studied, such as “how things like temperature might spark a developing killifish to begin or end diapause”. Overall, the news story was clear, easy to understand, and key information about the background of the killifish and the study was effectively described.
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