Weekly The Niche reads: lab-grown embryos & thymus, more

Today’s The Niche recommended weekly reads post includes both primary papers and also a few media pieces. I’m especially interested in the first piece on making more complex embryo-like structures from ES cells.

This is a long way from just making embryoid bodies or EBs.

At the end of the post I discuss an article that highlighted what seems to be a super-pricey new fee-scheme for open access work and review at Nature Publishing.

es cells embryos matrigel the niche
ES cells make partial embryos using matrigel as the niche of a sort. “Embedding of mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) aggregates in an extracellular matrix (ECM) enables generation of trunk-like structures (TLSs) with an in vivo–like architecture including gut, and neuromesodermal progenitor (NMP)–derived neural tube and somites. Comparative single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that TLS cell states and differentiation dynamics match those of the embryo. Chemical modulation and genetic manipulation highlight the utility of the TLS as a scalable, tractable, and accessible model for investigating mid-gestational embryogenesis. FN1, fibronectin.” Veenvliet, et al. Science 2020.

Artificial embryos, bioengineered thymus

Chromatin, histones including H1, integrative biology, more

The Niche selected media on science, stem cells and regenerative medicine

  • WaPo, Stem cell research finds a unique lab — the International Space Station. If humans are to go on long-haul space voyages our stem cells better fare well out there or we’ll be in deep trouble health-wise.
  • Discover, Is the Dawn of the Stem Cell Revolution Finally Here? Which revolution specifically? Can we find such headlines from 10 years ago?
  • Forbes, Prestige Journal Publisher, Nature, Slaps Scientists In The Face. The fees in this new OA program are so over the top and create barriers for scientists around the world who may not have such amounts to go toward just publishing fees. For example, you can now pay over $10,000. From the Forbes piece by Steven Salzberg: “publishers of Nature announced that they will charge authors €9,500 ($11,500) to publish a paper as open access, meaning readers can get the paper without a subscription. They called this, without a trace of irony, their “gold open access option.” Arguably more nutso is the new option to pay $2,600 just for a preliminary review of your paper with, of course, no guarantee that your manuscript will get published. Yes, it didn’t escape me that I often, including in today’s recommended reads, link to Nature family journal publications despite disagreeing with some of their policies like the new fees. We can’t just ignore the good science, right? Some like Salzberg have suggested decline requests to review Nature family papers until they drop their new policies with the wildly high fees.

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