In a statement jointly published in Science and Nature this week, 40 influenza virus researchers announced that the voluntary pause on certain types of H5N1 avian influenza research should end in countries where the aims of this moratorium have been met and authorities have reached decisions about how best to conduct such work safely.
Arthropods, which include insects, arachnids and crustaceans, are the most diverse group of terrestrial species on the planet. And that might be why researchers have had such a difficult time estimating their numbers, especially in tropical forests where so many arthropod species are known to thrive.
Scientists working on the transmission of the H5N1 avian influenza strain have voluntarily agreed to halt research for 60 days to allow time for international discussion on its benefits and potential harms.
In a letter published today by Science and Nature, the researchers acknowledge that they and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks. They propose an international forum for the scientific community to discuss these issues.
Paper wasps can recognize each others’ faces, researchers report. This ability is separate from the wasps’ more general capacity to distinguish shapes and patterns, and it seems to be a specialized skill that evolves independently in various lineages of social animals, including humans.