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OA publisher accepts fake paper

By | June 10, 2009

An open access journal has agreed to publish a nonsensical article written by a computer program, claiming that the manuscript was peer reviewed and requesting that the "authors" pay $800 in "open access fees." Philip Davis, a PhD student in scientific communications at Cornell University, and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at the __New England Journal of Medicine__, submitted the fake manuscript to linkurl:__The Open Information Science Jour


Minding the human genome gap

By | June 9, 2009

Many of the unsequenced gaps in the human genome arise because their DNA sequences cannot be read by the bacteria used in traditional sequencing methods, according to a linkurl:paper; published last week in __Genome Biology__. In the paper, a team of Broad Institute researchers report a simple, new way to fill in those gaps using next-generation sequencing technology. Image: Wikimedia Commons"There are some regions of the genome which bacteria don't like,"


Sens. to Sebelius: Support the NIH

By | June 9, 2009

Today on Capitol Hill, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius caught a little guff from Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) about the paltry increase -- just about $442 million -- that HHS is proposing for the National Institutes of Health's 2010 budget. "I would urge you to take another look at that figure," Specter said to Sebelius at a Senate subcommittee linkurl:hearing.;


Glucose yields sweet pest control

By | June 8, 2009

The key to fighting the ravages of termites and other insect pests could lie in the ubiquitous glucose molecule, tweaked to weaken insect immune systems, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Formosan subterranean termites Photo by Scott BauerThe scientists have shown that the glucose relative, D-δ-gluconolactone (GDL), can disrupt the activity of a termite protein crucial for sensing and killing invading microbes, making the pests susceptible to pathogenic bacter


Egg size matters for lizard sex

By | June 4, 2009

New findings add a surprising twist to the already complex mechanism that determines whether reptile embryos develop to be males or females. An egg-laying lizard found in the hills of southeastern Australia controls the sex of its young through the size of its eggs, suggesting that female reptiles may actively dole out yolk to fine-tune the sex ratio of their offspring, researchers linkurl:report; online today (June 4) in __Curren


Elsevier tweaks custom pub rules

By | June 4, 2009

Publishing company Elsevier is revising its policies and procedures for partnering with pharmaceutical companies to create custom publications in response to recent media attention over a fake journal, called the __Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine__ (__AJBJM__), created by the company and paid for by Merck. Elsevier provided __The Scientist__ with the names of additional custom publications produced by the company's Australia office from 2000-2005, that an Elsevier spokesperson a


Can monkeys mislead?

By | June 3, 2009

Capuchin monkeys cry "predator" to trick more senior members of their troop into fleeing the dinner table, leaving more food for themselves, according to a linkurl:study published online this week; in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Image: Brandon Wheeler"This is one of the only studies which has actually [used] an experimental paradigm to look at tactical deceptio


Texas school under investigation

By | June 1, 2009

A leading American faculty organization is formally investigating the mass termination of tenured and tenure-track professors on grounds of financial exigency made by the University of Texas System and its Medical Branch in Galveston in the wake of Hurricane Ike. These layoffs "raise key issues of academic freedom, tenure, and due process," the linkurl:American Association of University Professors; (AAUP) wrote in a linkurl:letter;


Patched-up human stem cells

By | May 31, 2009

For the first time, researchers have combined gene therapy and cellular reprogramming technologies in human cells to correct a genetic defect. After taking skin and hair cells from patients with a rare genetic disorder and fixing the aberrant mutation, the investigators successfully reprogrammed the cells to an embryonic-like state and then turned them into the very cell types that usually go awry, according to a linkurl:study;


Geckos invade Philly museum

By | May 29, 2009

Geckos get around. They're among the most diverse and widely distributed lizards, populating every continent except Antarctica and inhabiting everything from tropical beaches and humid rainforests to chilly mountain ranges and arid deserts. This Saturday (May 30), geckos are making an appearance at The Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) in Philadelphia. The traveling exhibit, "Geckos -- Tails to Toepads" will be open for public viewing until Labor Day (September 7). The exhibit, operated by link


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