Read our COVID-19 research and news.


Top stories: Francis Collins’s decade, the upside of melting Arctic ice, and ‘ethical’ eggs

For a decade, Francis Collins has shielded NIH—while making waves of his own

This month marks geneticist Francis Collins’s tenth year as the director of the National Institutes of Health. In that time, Collins has helped shield NIH from threatened budget cuts, as well as the upheaval that has shaken many other federal agencies under President Donald Trump’s administration. Known for pushing big-picture initiatives to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math and increase the rate of drug development, Collins, observers say, has been one of the most influential directors ever to shape NIH.

Vanishing Arctic ice will open the way for more science voyages, analysis suggests

As sea ice continues to melt in the Arctic, more research vessels could soon be plying the frigid sea lanes to study Arctic algae blooms, atmospheric chemistry, marine mammals, and more, according to a new report. The report shows that vessel activity in U.S. Arctic waters has increased by 128% from 2008 to 2018, and suggests that science voyages into the Arctic will become even more common as sea lanes open and new ice-capable ships become available. 

‘Ethical’ eggs could save male chicks from mass slaughter

Modern laying hens have been bred to produce huge numbers of eggs, but their brothers are useless—and are often killed when they’re still yellow and fluffy. Researchers are searching for a way to determine the sex of an egg before it hatches, avoiding unnecessary killing and cracking a problem that’s troubled the egg industry for years.

Star scientist out at Scripps Research

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the high-profile biology research hub in San Diego, California, has forced out prominent biochemist Floyd Romesberg, who left TSRI in mid-June. Although the institute would not confirm whether he was fired, it told Science in a statement that Romesberg was investigated—and found not in violation—of a possible Title IX infraction.

Colombia confirms that dreaded fungus has hit its banana plantations

Colombia has declared a national state of emergency following confirmation that a dreaded fungus has appeared in the country’s banana plantations. The 8 August declaration marks the first time that Fusarium wilt tropical race 4, which has devastated crops in Asia, has been confirmed in Latin America, the world’s largest exporter of bananas. Signs of the fungus were first spotted in June in Northern Colombia, putting the region on high alert.