When Alena Shkumatava opens the door to the “fish lab” at the Whitehead Institute of MIT, she encounters warm, aquarium-scented air and shelf after shelf of foot-long tanks, each containing one or more zebra fish. She studies the tiny fish in her quest to unravel one of the knottiest problems in biology: how the acting of genes is encouraged or inhibited in cells.
For decades, the United States dominated the technological revolution sweeping the globe. The nation’s science and engineering skills produced vast gains in productivity and wealth, powered its military and made it the de facto world leader.
Researchers who studied a string of Pacific Ocean atolls are painting the first detailed picture of pristine coral reefs and how they can be disrupted by people — particularly, they said, by fishing.