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  • Following up on their recent study in Communications Biology Sasha Tetu et al discuss how plastic pollution of the oceans may affect marine microbes as well as strategies to identify the substances responsible for leachate toxicity and to further understand their impact.

    • Sasha G. Tetu
    • Indrani Sarker
    • Lisa R. Moore
    Comment Open Access
  • In light of their recent finding that insertion of a rare endogenous retrovirus, β4, is the cause of the characteristic coat coloring in agouti and piebald mice, Akira Tanave and Tsuyoshi Koide now discuss the origin and expansion of this element as well as potential roles of β4 in the mouse genome.

    • Akira Tanave
    • Tsuyoshi Koide
    Comment Open Access
  • Karen Echeverri and her colleagues showed in their recent Communications Biology study that an unconventional Fos/Jun heterodimer regulates axon regeneration in axolotl. In this article, she emphasises the diverse mechanisms of regeneration in other species and discusses future work needed to understand how the nervous system can be regenerated.

    • Karen Echeverri
    Comment Open Access
  • Genomic diversity is a driving force influencing human and animal health, and susceptibility to disease. During the Keystone Symposium on Leveraging Genomic Diversity to Promote Human and Animal Health held in Kampala on Lake Victoria in Uganda, we brought together diverse communities of geneticists with primary objectives to explore areas of common interest, joint technological and methodological developments and applications, and to leverage opportunities for cross-learning. We explored translational genomics research in farmed animals and humans, debated the differences in research objectives in high- and low-resourced environments, delved into infectious diseases and zoonoses affecting humans and animals and considered diversity and cultural context at many levels. The 109 participants were from 22 countries (13 in Africa) and included 44 global travel awardees from 9 countries, equal numbers of men and women, of whom 31 were students and 13 senior investigators.

    • Michèle Ramsay
    • Han G. Brunner
    • Appolinaire Djikeng
    Comment Open Access
  • Venkatesan and Coskun propose the use of digital posters instead of paper posters for disseminating progress reports in scientific meetings. These digital frames are capable of uploading multiple display items via wireless network and changing the interactive display with wave of a hand over an attached motion sensor.

    • Mythreye Venkatesan
    • Ahmet F. Coskun
    Comment Open Access
  • It is increasingly recognized that research is most impactful when disseminated to broad audiences within and beyond the scientific community. For children and youth, opportunities to share independent research beyond family and science fair attendees are limited by a lack of appropriate dissemination platforms. This lack of opportunity creates the ‘science fair dilemma’, where the engagement of students with the scientific community is curtailed once science fairs wrap up. Here we discuss this missed opportunity to encourage engagement and skill development of young scientists, and provide a case study of a student centric science journal aimed to tackle these challenges.

    • Rhiannon Ng
    • Kira Slivitzky
    • Dayre McNally
    Comment Open Access
  • Graphics are becoming increasingly important for scientists to effectively communicate their findings to broad audiences, but most researchers lack expertise in visual media. We suggest collaboration between scientists and graphic designers as a way forward and discuss the results of a pilot project to test this type of collaboration.

    • Colin K. Khoury
    • Yael Kisel
    • Ari Novy
    Comment Open Access
  • Fabien Pifferi et al. discuss the latest research in using caloric restriction for promoting healthspan and lifespan in primates. Their Comment touches on their previous study, addressing how to combine nutrition-based clinical protocols with interventions to delay the onset of age-related diseases.

    • Fabien Pifferi
    • Jérémy Terrien
    • Fabienne Aujard
    Comment Open Access
  • Mathew Seymour discusses the current status of using environmental DNA derived directly from natural environments to study biodiversity, and its applications in conservation and ecological research. In his Comment, he explores how eDNA as a technology can foster multi-disciplinary collaboration.

    • Mathew Seymour
    Comment Open Access
  • Saunders et al. discuss the latest research and strategies used to control wheat stem rust in Western Europe following their report of its recurrence in the UK for the first time in almost 60 years. In their Comment, they hope to build on their previous work to drive innovation in disease management.

    • Diane G. O. Saunders
    • Zacharias A. Pretorius
    • Mogens S. Hovmøller
    Comment Open Access
  • In this Comment, Ngan Huang et al. discuss recent advances in cardiovascular tissue engineering and some of the main challenges that remain in translating these advances to the clinic. The authors propose future direction for the field to focus research efforts.

    • Ngan F. Huang
    • Vahid Serpooshan
    • Joseph C. Wu
    Comment Open Access
  • Caroline Palmer proposes the concept of coral holobiont damage thresholds to stimulate research into coral health and immunity as tropical reefs are increasingly threatened by climate change. This framework may be used to develop targeted approaches to coral reef restoration, management and conservation.

    • Caroline V. Palmer
    Comment Open Access
  • Volker Hartenstein and Angela Giangrande discuss recent advances and future directions in glial biology and evolution in the context of a recent scientific conference. Their Comment illustrates the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to answering outstanding questions in biology.

    • Volker Hartenstein
    • Angela Giangrande
    Comment Open Access