The night gardeners: Immune cells rewire, repair brain while we sleep

Science tells us that a lot of good things happen in our brains while we sleep—learning and memories are consolidated and waste is removed, among other things. New research shows for the first time that important immune cells called microglia—which play an important role in reorganizing the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage—are also primarily active while we sleep.

Search-and-replace genome editing without double-strand breaks or donor DNA

Here we describe prime editing, a versatile and precise genome editing method that directly writes new genetic information into a specified DNA site using a catalytically impaired Cas9 fused to an engineered reverse transcriptase, programmed with a prime editing guide RNA (pegRNA) that both specifies the target site and encodes the desired edit.

Somatosensory cortex participates in the consolidation of human motor memory

Here, by using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to block consolidation, we report the first direct evidence that plasticity in somatosensory cortex participates in the consolidation of motor memory…

In conclusion, the findings are consistent with the hypothesis that in adaptation learning, somatosensory cortex rather than motor cortex is involved in the consolidation of motor memory.

Brexit hits UK science funding and workforce

The first figures have emerged demonstrating that Brexit uncertainty has adversely affected UK research.

They show Britain’s annual share of EU research funding has fallen by nearly a third since 2015.

The analysis by the Royal Society suggests scientists are choosing not to work in Britain, with a 35% drop in those coming to the UK via EU schemes.

Split decisions: How Brexit has taken a toll on five researchers

For scientists, immigration rules imposed on Europeans would make recruiting researchers harder at all levels, and most EU research funding would immediately stop flowing…

For some researchers, Brexit is not just a looming threat: It has already taken a toll on their lives and their science. Statistics give the outlines. Last year, U.K. researchers were involved in considerably fewer EU research projects than in the year before the Brexit vote. Prestigious EU fellowships that give early-career researchers 2 years of funding to work in another country offer another ominous indicator. From 2015 to 2019, the proportion of fellows choosing U.K. universities fell from 33% to 22%.

One neuron versus deep learning in aftershock prediction

Forecasting the spatial distribution of aftershocks in the aftermath of large seismic events is of great importance for improving both our understanding of earthquake triggering and post-disaster management. Recently, DeVries et al. attempted to solve this scientific problem by deep learning…

Here we first clarify that similar performances had already been obtained (by the same authors, in 2017)…

Second, we reformulate the 2017 results using two-parameter logistic regression (that is, one neuron) and obtain the same performance as that of the 13,451-parameter DNN…

This demonstrates that so far the proposed deep learning strategy does not provide any new insight (predictive or inferential) in this domain.

Vaporized cannabis extracts have reinforcing properties and support conditioned drug-seeking behavior in rats

Animal models involving traditional cannabinoid self-administration approaches have been notoriously difficult to establish and differences in the drug employed and its route of administration have limited the translational value of preclinical studies. To address this challenge in the field, we have developed a novel method of cannabis self-administration using response-contingent delivery of vaporized Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-rich (CANTHC) or cannabidiol-rich (CANCBD) complete cannabis extracts.