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Dems promise support for science

By | August 26, 2008

Upon last night's opening of the giant pep rally known as the Democratic National Convention, Democrats formally approved their linkurl:platform,;http://www.demconvention.com/assets/downloads/2008-Democratic-Platform-by-Cmte-08-13-08.pdf pledging to double federal funding of basic science research, lift the ban on funding embryonic stem cell research, and make the R&D tax credit permanent. The platform makes these promises against the backdrop of the current Administration's linkurl:treatment;ht

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A wild cat chase

By | August 25, 2008

Over the past several weeks editors at The Scientist have received announcements from Allerca, the controversial company selling purportedly hypoallergenic cats, stating that some of their felines will be doubling in price this fall. According to a release sent out from the company last week, the price of the standard Allerca cat will go from $5,950 to $7,900 on September 1. But starting on November 1, the cost is skyrocketing to $15,000. The other cat breeds that Allerca sells are also going

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Bill for CA animal researchers

By | August 25, 2008

linkurl:Legislation;http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_2251-2300/ab_2296_bill_20080811_amended_sen_v92.html seeking to criminalize some of the key methods used by animal rights protesters to target researchers was passed by the California State Senate last Friday (Aug 22). The Senate unanimously passed the bill, which now makes its way to the State Assembly, where it must be approved before it goes to the governor's desk, according to the linkurl:__Los Angeles Times__.;http://lati

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Breaking the mucus barrier

By | August 21, 2008

Step aside sound barrier: Chemical engineers at Johns Hopkins University have broken the mucus barrier, a long-standing adversary to drug delivery in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. "We get asked all the time, 'Why on Earth do you want to study mucus?'" said Samuel Lai, a postdoc at Hopkins who presented the work yesterday (August 20) at the annual American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia. Lai has an easy answer to that question: Mucus has evolved

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London gets new neuro institute

By | August 21, 2008

The University College of London will be the likely host to a new $261 million neuroscience institute, according to a statement sent to The Scientist from the Wellcome Trust, a co-developer of the new center. Beating out Oxford and Cambridge Universities, UCL will host the new center devoted to researching neural circuits and behavior, and could be completed as soon as 2011, Nature linkurl:reported;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080819/full/454922b.html?s=news_rss yesterday. Work at the instit

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The scent of fear

By | August 21, 2008

The nose may know more than we think: New research suggests a poorly-understood structure in the tip of the nose may regulate a vital mammalian alarm system. According to a paper published in linkurl:Science;http://www.sciencemag.org/ tomorrow (August 22), mice detect alarm pheromones -- signals evoking behavioral reactions such as fear and anxiety -- through a bundle of cells on the roof of the nasal cavity. This cell structure, first described by Hans Grueneberg in 1973 and called the Gruene

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Blood line = life line?

By | August 20, 2008

Will findings by Worcester, MA-based Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT) on large-scale blood production from stem cells help the company pull in some much-needed capital? By now you've likely seen reports on a linkurl:paper;http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/abstract/blood-2008-05-157198v1 appearing today in Blood in which researchers differentiated human embryonic stem cells into oxygen-carrying blood cells, in large quantity. The results suggest it may be possible to create

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eBay score: a new insect species

By | August 20, 2008

Sure, you can score vintage cars, one-of-a-kind guitar straps, even the odd linkurl:mass spectrometer;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15309/ on linkurl:eBay.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15331/ But now it seems that a place in science history can also be purchased on the popular auction website. So learned entomologist linkurl:Richard Harrington,;http://www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/Research/Centres/index.php?Centre=BCC vice president of the United Kingdom's Royal Entom

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Muscle-like fat?

By | August 20, 2008

All fat is not not created equal: In the past couple years researchers have come to realize that there's good fat and bad fat, and a study in this week's __Nature__ points to a biological reason for this difference. White fat, the main type of fat in the body, develops from fat precursor cells and stores excess energy. Brown fat, however, burns energy rather than storing it, and the new findings suggest it originates from muscle precursor cells. That means that "brown fat is one gene away from

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Pharma's presidential picks

By | August 19, 2008

In an industry known for backing Republicans, Sen. Barack Obama has emerged as a surprising pharma favorite in the US presidential election. In April, Obama won a mock election at the annual DTC national meeting, a drug advertising conference, with a 53% to 46% victory over Sen. John McCain. Drug companies have also put the money where their mouth is: Pharma has donated three times more to the Obama campaign than to McCain's. According to a linkurl:Bloomberg News report;http://www.bloomber

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