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Will arthritis thwart cane toads?

By | December 2, 2008

The wave of pesky cane toads that is spreading across the Australian landscape with a rapacious disregard for the continent's delicate ecological balance might be slowed by a complaint familiar to anyone who travels frequently: a sore back. And one cane toad biologist is suggesting that this weakness may be the key to reining in the invasive amphibian's impact on native Australian species. University of Sydney biologist linkurl:Rick Shine;http://www.usyd.edu.au/sustainable_solutions/environment

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Europe rejects stem cell patent

By | December 1, 2008

The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,;http://ink.primate.wisc.edu/~thomson/ a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer,

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Finding Nemo with electricity

By | November 26, 2008

Researchers have discovered an electrifying love story in the turbid rivers of the lower Congo rapids. Elephant-nosed electric fish find and recognize their mates through crackling communications, according a study published today (Nov. 25) in__ linkurl:Biology Letters.;http://publishing.royalsociety.org/index.cfm?page=1566 Campylomormyrus__ elephant-nosed fish have a specialized muscular organ that emits millivolt-strength electric signals -- too weak for humans to much notice but powerful eno

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Gut drives bone makeovers

By | November 26, 2008

The signals that tell your skeleton to lay down new bone come from an unlikely source -- your gut, according to a study published today (Nov. 26) in Cell. "This study revolutionizes how we think about the skeleton," linkurl:Cliff Rosen,;http://www.mmcri.org/cctr/rosen.html a bone biologist from Maine Medical Center Research Institute who was not involved in the research, told The Scientist. "We, as bone [researchers], thought of the skeleton as functioning independent of everything else," Ros

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Critics rip Cell paper

By | November 25, 2008

Improper citation, disregard for antecedent research, and shoddy experimentation - those are just a few of the allegations levied against a recent research paper written by a team of Stanford University scientists. One of the paper's chief critics, University of Cambridge biologist linkurl:Peter Lawrence,;http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/PAL/ says that the problems with the publication exemplify a broader problem in scientific publishing. "There's a pressure on scientists to publish in these top j

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Even Gates feels the pinch

By | November 25, 2008

As the global economy continues to linkurl:falter;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54816/ -- taking funding opportunities and linkurl:life science companies;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55089/ with it -- even the mighty Bill Gates is tightening his belt. __The Wall Street Journal__ linkurl:reported;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122758023670855613.html yesterday (Nov. 24) that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which linkurl:funds;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/

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Health research call to action?

By | November 21, 2008

Ministers from more than 60 developing world nations called for urgent action to improve health research this week, although it's unclear what on-the-ground changes will actually be made. Governments should invest 2% of their linkurl:health budgets;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54025/ on research and engage further with the private sector, the ministers said at the closing event of the three-day__ linkurl:Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health;http://www.bamako2008.org/

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PhDs (People Having Dance-offs)

By | November 21, 2008

They twirled and tangoed, somersaulted and flipped. Some interpreted their science through linkurl:hula-hoops;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Va4zcGyYs0 set ablaze, while linkurl:others;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zCBcghQ1rA used the beats of Notorious B.I.G. to guide their rhythmic undulations, pipette in hand. The American Association for the Advancement of Science crowned its newest linkurl:Dance Your PhD;http://gonzolabs.org/dance/ champs yesterday (Nov 20.): two graduate students, a po

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Science orgs. praise HHS pick

By | November 20, 2008

Scientific trade groups organizations seem quite pleased with the appointment of former Senator linkurl:Tom Daschle;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55206/ to the position of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. But Daschle is not without potential conflicts of interest that might limit his participation in key decisions at the agency. "It's a perfect appointment in that Tom knows the Department inside and out," said linkurl:John Porter,;http://www.the-scientist.co

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1st ever retraction for JEB

By | November 19, 2008

The __Journal of Experimental Biology__ (JEB) has issued the first retraction in its 85 year history, the journal reported in an linkurl:editorial;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3651 and a linkurl:retraction;http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/211/23/3764 notice in its December 1 issue. Although the authors' institution told JEB their reuse of images was a careless error, the journal's editor-in-chief called it a case of outright fraud. The linkurl:retracted paper;http

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