Futurity

There are ‘Hidden Figures’ in population genetics, too

Female programmers and numerical analysts whose contributions to population genetics went under-recognized could be new role models for women in STEM.
Mary Jackson working at NASA

Many women made significant contributions to population genetics as programmers but did not get recognition as authors.

Inspired by the 2016 blockbuster Hidden Figures, researchers analyzed the contributions of women in population genetics.

By looking at all the studies published in a single population genetics journal from 1970 to 1990, they found that many female computer programmers responsible for developing and running computational simulations to test hypotheses explaining genetic differences with populations were recognized in the papers’ acknowledgements section rather than listed as authors.

In fact, of the acknowledged programmers, 43 percent were women while only 7.4 percent of the authors were women. This difference was even more pronounced in the 1970s, when 59 percent of programmers recognized in the papers’ acknowledgements section were women.

The findings appear in the journal Genetics. Study author Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, an assistant professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, discusses the study’s key findings and implications here:

The post There are ‘Hidden Figures’ in population genetics, too appeared first on Futurity.

More from Futurity

Futurity2 min readSociety
Three Ways To Spot Dodgy Nutrition Advice
Misguided nutrition advice can be more than ineffective: It can be dangerous. Over 20,000 people end up in the emergency room because of supplements each year, and a quarter of those cases are due to weight-loss related supplements. So how can you st
Futurity2 min readScience
Gene Target Could Lead To Treatment For Down Syndrome
Targeting a key gene before birth could someday help lead to a treatment for Down syndrome by reversing abnormal embryonic brain development and improving cognitive function after birth, according to a new study. Using stem cells that can turn into o
Futurity4 min readPsychology
Can We Turn Down The Emotion On Traumatic Memories?
New research shows just how pliable memory is if you know which regions of the hippocampus to stimulate. The discovery could someday lead to personalized treatment for people haunted by particularly troubling memories. What if scientists could manipu