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Science doesn't believe in MAGIC

By | April 23, 2009

Following a final report from a prominent South Korean university, __Science__ formally retracted a paper today (Apr. 23) from Korean researcher Kim Tae-kook purportedly reporting a new technology to identify drug targets called magnetism-based interaction capture (MAGIC). Kim Tae-kookImage: AFP/KAISTIn linkurl:February 2008,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54398/ Kim was suspended from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), where he was a faculty member, afte

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The healing arts

By | April 23, 2009

After weeks of eating nothing, a patient being treated at the National Institutes of Health was recently able to suck on a lifesaver for about 20 minutes. He has a rare condition that prevents him from eating for long stretches, but when art therapist Megan Robb asked him to paint a picture of what his experience was like, he painted that lifesaver. "He said it was really meaningful to think about what he is grateful for in his life, rather than thinking of complications of his illness," said Ro

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Earliest fossil seal found

By | April 22, 2009

Researchers have found a fossilized ancestor of modern seals and sea lions that they say represents an evolutionary step in the organisms' transition from land-dwelling mammals to the aquatic creatures they are today. The fossil skeleton is thought to be more than 20 million years old, making it the earliest fossil pinniped -- the taxonomic name for seals, sea lions and walruses -- yet discovered, they report in the latest issue of __Nature__. An artist's recreation of__Puijila darwini__Illustr

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Troubled IRB closes shop

By | April 22, 2009

A company that serves as an independent review board for clinical trials and was caught approving a fake medical device study will close, the Wall Street Journal linkurl:reports.;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124042341694744375.html The company, Colorado-based linkurl:Coast IRB,;http://www.coastirb.com/ was exposed in a government sting operation last month. Based on the undercover investigation's findings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent Coast a formal reprimand on April 14 f

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UK to bail out biotech

By | April 22, 2009

The British government is investing £750 million ($1.1 billion) to bolster the ailing biotech industry and other commercial science and technology sectors. Image: flickr/MjuboyThe new Strategic Investment Fund "will encourage exports, support inward investment, promote research and development and harness commercially our world-class science base," linkurl:Alistair Darling,;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Darling Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, said today (Apr. 22) in his lin

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Animal rights activists charged

By | April 21, 2009

A Los Angeles County grand jury linkurl:arraigned;http://www.lada.tv/mr/042009b.htm two animal rights activists yesterday (Apr. 20) charged with ten felonies, including stalking and conspiracy to threaten a public officer or school employee, for allegedly harassing University of California, Los Angeles, scientists who use animals in their research. Called "associates of the Animal Liberation Front" by the LA County's District Attorney's office, Linda Greene, 61, and Kevin Olliff, 22, were charg

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Cancer research, stimulated

By | April 21, 2009

The US federal agency tasked with tackling cancer has laid out a plan to double the number of cancer research projects it funds, prioritizing first-time grants to young researchers and emphasizing genomic approaches to understanding the disease. These goals are attainable, according to linkurl:John Niederhuber,;http://www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/directorscorner/jen director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), thanks to an infusion of government funding from an increased annual budget and recent

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Sebelius clears Senate committee

By | April 21, 2009

Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama's pick to lead the US Department of Health and Human Services, has moved one step closer to being confirmed for the position by the US Senate. Sebelius's nomination was endorsed by all the Democrats and two Republicans in the Senate's Finance Committee. The final vote was 15-8, with some prominent Republicans, such as ranking member Charles Grassley (R-IA), voting against the Kansas governor's nomination. According to the linkurl:__Los Angeles Times__,;

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DNA repeats hold RNA starts

By | April 20, 2009

DNA sequences that don't code for proteins and are repeated thousands or millions of times in the genome are more than just genomic deadwood: These regions contain promoter sequences that can instigate not only their own transcription, but the transcription of protein-coding genes as well, a study published online in Nature on Sunday (April 19th) reports. The paper is likely to spur a slew of new research into repetitive elements in the genome, said Philip Kapranov, principal genomicist at lin

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Plug and play genes

By | April 20, 2009

Researchers have designed a way to streamline the construction of synthetic gene networks, a paper published online this week in Nature Biotechnology reports. The technique could speed up the process of building such networks, the authors say. The study was "very solidly executed," said J. Christopher Anderson, a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley. Image: Liz_Henry/flickr Synthetic biology, the process of combining genes to create artificial networks, holds promise for numer

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