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Tetrapods' old age revealed

By | January 6, 2010

Newly discovered tetrapod footprints suggest that the evolution of limbed vertebrates may have occurred nearly 20 million years earlier than scientists previously believed, according to a study published this week in Nature. Pencil drawing of Acanthostegagunnari, an early tetrapodImage: Wikimedia commons, linkurl:Nobu Tamura;http://www.palaeocritti.com "This is a very important discovery," said paleontologist Philippe Janvier of the linkurl:Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle;http://www.m

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Biogen Idec CEO to retire

By | January 5, 2010

Cambridge-based biotech Biogen Idec, the maker of the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, linkurl:announced;http://investor.biogenidec.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=148682&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1370474&highlight=] yesterday that its president and CEO, James Mullen, will retire in June. The search is on for a new head. Mullen rose through the ranks at Biogen after coming on as director of facilities and engineering in 1989. He became head of Biogen in 2000, and kept that post when Biogen merged with San Die

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New NIH grants announced

By | January 4, 2010

The New Year is already looking pretty rosy over at the National Institutes of Health. On December 28th the agency announced a new round of grants made possible through last year's NIH stimulus boost. The $80 million program, dubbed the NIH Director's Opportunity for Research in Five Thematic Areas, will fund research projects in a handful of areas - genomics and other high throughput technologies, translational science, enabling health care reform, global health, and "Reinvigorating the Biomed

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While you were away...

By | January 4, 2010

As a new year stretches before us and the holidays are nothing but a nog-scented memory, here are a few of the life science stories you may have missed while you were enjoying your winter vacation. 1) James Goddard died On December 18, we linkurl:lost;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/health/02goddard.html the James Goddard, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration who toughened up the agency and forced pharmaceutical companies to supply more rigorous scientific evidence for

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Consent issues nix blood samples

By | December 23, 2009

More than 5 million blood samples used by researchers in Texas since 2002 must be destroyed because they were stored without parental consent, according to a lawsuit settlement signed by a federal court judge in Texas earlier this month (December 14). Image: Wikimedia commons, Nevit Dilmen"The fact that the court case ruled to have all of them destroyed takes Texas back to square one," linkurl:Richard Finnell;http://genetics.tamu.edu/faculty/rick_finnell of Texas A&M Health Science Center wrot

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NIH's New Year's resolution?

By | December 22, 2009

It looks like the National Institutes of Health might ring in 2010 by getting serious about addressing conflicts of interest among its grantees.Image: NIH NIH director Francis Collins, in an interview with C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program, said that the agency would issue a "Proposed Rule" in January or February that will seek to prevent pharmaceutical companies from ghostwriting studies for researchers and require drug makers and other medical companies to disclose financial relationships with NI

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Pluripotency process unveiled

By | December 21, 2009

Scientists have identified a key component of cellular reprogramming that may aid in more efficiently creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, according to a study published online in Nature today (December 21). Mouse embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons"This [research] is pretty astonishing," molecular biologist Xiangru Xu of linkurl:Yale University;http://www.yale.edu/ wrote in an email to The Scientist. "This study provides a specific epigenetic mechanism [for] the pluripotent

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Crystallographer faked data

By | December 18, 2009

A protein researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been found guilty of falsifying data that he used to construct 12 fraudulent protein structures that made it into the scientific literature and an international archive of protein structures.A G-protein image based oncrystal structure dataImage: S. Jahnichen After investigating the misconduct -- with the help of a committee of independent protein scientists -- the university has linkurl:asked;http://main.uab.edu/Sites/rep

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The top 5 people of 2009

By | December 18, 2009

From budgets padded with stimulus funding to advancements in stem cell legislation, 2009 has been an all around big year for research. But in The Scientist's mind, a few individuals have stuck out in terms of their contributions, support, and leadership in the life sciences. Here are our picks for the top five most influential people of the year, presented in alphabetical order: Francis Collins Unless you have been living under a rock this year, you know that linkurl:Collins;http://www.nih.

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Hopes fade for HIV microbicide

By | December 17, 2009

Despite linkurl:promising early trial results,;http://www.ipmglobal.org/news_room/english/press_releases/2009/20090209_pro2000_buffergel_study.htm another microbicide for the prevention of HIV transmission was deemed ineffective, scientists at the UK Medical Research Council's Microbicides Development Programme (MDP) linkurl:announced;http://www.mdp.mrc.ac.uk/archive.html Monday (December 14). The failure of the PRO 2000 gel is part of a decade-long history of unsuccessful attempts to develop va

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