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How to ID human pluripotency

By | October 11, 2009

Stem cell researchers must take more care in identifying true pluripotency in reprogrammed human cells, according to a study published online today (October 11) in Nature Biotechnology. The paper outlines strict molecular criteria for recognizing pluripotency, and warns that relying on just a single marker will muddle the field. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"All too often people in the human [stem cell] field use the most minimal criteria to call cells

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Disputed patent rules dropped

By | October 9, 2009

A two-year battle between the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and biopharma over a much-contested set of patent rules ended yesterday (October 8) when the USPTO linkurl:rescinded the rules altogether.;http://www.uspto.gov/news/09_21.jsp "These regulations have been highly unpopular from the outset and were not well received by the applicant community," said David Kappos, director of the USPTO, in a statement. "In taking the actions we are announcing [October 8], we hope to engage the ap

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Open access bill stalls in Congress

By | October 8, 2009

A bill designed to make scientific research funded by the US government's 11 largest funding bodies accessible for free by the general public is hibernating in the US legislature, awaiting some resolution in the heated health care reform debate before it can be seriously discussed by lawmakers. Congressional staffers in the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where the linkurl:Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) of 2009;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c1

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Ruth Kirschstein dies

By | October 8, 2009

Ruth Kirschstein, a trusted advisor and long-time administrator at the National Institutes of Health who helped develop and refine safety tests of viral vaccines for diseases such as rubella, measles, and polio, died last night (Oct. 6) after "battling a long illness," according to the NIH. In 1974, Kirschstein was the first woman to serve as director of an NIH institute -- the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)-- and served as acting NIH director on several occasions. She wa

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Viral cause for chronic fatigue?

By | October 8, 2009

A recently-discovered virus found to be associated with prostate cancer has now been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to a linkurl:study published;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1179052 online in Science today (8 October). The study, although only correlative, lends a greater immediacy to questions about how the virus is spread and what, if any, other diseases it might cause. XMRVImage: Whittmore Peterson Institute"Either [the virus] is a causative factor or

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2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry announced

By | October 7, 2009

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will go to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a molecular and cell biologist at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, Thomas Steitz, a molecular biochemist at Yale University, and Ada Yonath, a structural biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel for their work mapping the ribosome--one of the cell's most complex machines--at the atomic level. They will share the prize equally. Please check back later today for full coverage o

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Human variation revealed

By | October 7, 2009

Scientists have generated the most comprehensive map of the structural variation that exists among normal, healthy humans, according to a study published online today in Nature. Understanding normal variation between individuals is critical to identifying abnormal changes that may contribute to a wide variety of heritable diseases. Image: Wikimedia commons"I think it's considered to be a landmark paper," said geneticist linkurl:Frank Speleman;http://users.ugent.be/%7Efspelema/neubla/nb.htm of t

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Ribosome researchers win Nobel

By | October 7, 2009

Three researchers who made fundamental discoveries on the structure and function of the ribosome will receive the linkurl:Nobel Prize for Chemistry;http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/press.html this year. Understanding how the ribosome works at the atomic level has been crucial for understanding key cellular processes underlying life. Venkatraman RamakrishnanImage: MRC Laboratory ofMolecular Biologylinkurl:Venkatraman Ramakrishnan,;http://www.gf.org/fellows/11944-venkat

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EU moves to unify science

By | October 6, 2009

Europe must invest more money and create better infrastructure to support science in order to remain globally competitive, said an independent panel of scientists advising the European Union in a linkurl:report;http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1424&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en released today (October 6). Image: WikimediaThe group, called the European Research Area Board (ERAB), pointed out that Europe spends only 1% of its GDP on research, in compar

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2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine announced

By | October 5, 2009

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will go to Elizabeth Blackburn, a biochemist at the University of California, San Francisco, Carol Greider, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Jack Szostak, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School for their discovery of telomeres and telomerases, which have helped scientists understand how chromosomes are completely copied during cell division and protected against degradation. Please check back later today for full coverage of

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