Study: Female researchers underrepresented in genomics

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A study in PLOS Biology analyzed publication records from almost 4,000 faculty members in chemical engineering, chemistry, ecology, materials science, molecular biology and psychology to investigate gender representation.

The researchers, based out of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., found that female faculty in all six disciplines had as many collaborators or co-authors as their male counterparts. However, when looking into subdisciplines within the six fields, the researchers identified a stark underrepresentation in genomics.

"Our findings in molecular biology, particularly genomics, are what surprised us the most," said Luís Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. "There is a lot of research money in this high-profile area, and women are not represented proportionally. This raises all sorts of questions as to what kind of cultural environment has been created in the field."

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