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Gulf scientists "on the sidelines"

By | June 23, 2010

Federally organized research teams mobilizing to deal with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are failing to adequately include local ecologists in their efforts, according to some Gulf Coast academic researchers. Image: National Oceanographic andAtmospheric Administration"A chorus is developing here," said linkurl:William Hawkins,;http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/cv/hawkins.william/cv.hawkins.william.php director of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), of the g

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Lose fin proteins, gain limb?

By | June 23, 2010

The vertebrate transition from fin to limb is one of the juiciest mysteries in evolutionary biology, and this week, scientists may have identified another clue to the puzzle. Published online today (June 23) at linkurl:Nature,;http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html a team of researchers describe two previously unknown proteins essential to fin development in bony fishes -- the loss of which may have been a key step in the evolution of fins to limbs during tetrapod development. "It's a very exc

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Research underwater

By | June 22, 2010

Animal physiologist Richard Browning stood at the edge of the water, shocked. On Saturday night, May 1st, forecasters predicted the Cumberland River, running along the edge of linkurl:Browning's research farm;http://faculty.tnstate.edu/rbrowning/ at Tennessee State University in Nashville, would crest at only 35 feet (around 10 meters) on Sunday evening -- high, but not high enough to damage the farm. But when he and his team arrived Sunday morning, the river had risen to 38 feet. Half the farm

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Scientist survivors

By | June 22, 2010

"I've always been a bit shy about talking about science," said Kerstin Zechner, a genetics graduate student at the University of Oxford. So when she heard about the online competition that let high school students decide whether a scientist is worthy of receiving a ₤500 prize, Zechner hesitated, and then decided to give it a shot. As part of a two-week-long online event that ran in March called "I'm a Scientist, Get me out of Here," Zechner and other scientists responded to any questions

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New impact factors yield surprises

By | June 21, 2010

Thomson Reuters has released its 2009 Journal Citation Report, cataloging journals' impact factors, and shuffling in the top few spots have some analysts scratching their heads. Specifically, the publication with second highest impact factor in the "science" category is __Acta Crystallographica - Section A__, knocking none other than the __New England Journal of Medicine__ from the runner's up position. This title's impact factor rocketed up to 49.926 this year, more than 20-fold higher than la

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Immunology 2.0: brain, gut?

By | June 18, 2010

In order to progress, should the field of immunology look to other organ systems such as the brain and gut, or should it focus its efforts on all that remains unknown about the immune system itself? Macrophage cell in early stages of infectionwith African swine fever virusImage: Wikimedia commons"The major advancements in any field come when branches of science collide," said linkurl:Kevin Tracey,;http://www.feinsteininstitute.org/Feinstein/Laboratory+of+Biomedical+Sciences an immunologist at

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Kyoto Prize goes to Yamanaka

By | June 18, 2010

Stem cell researcher linkurl:Shinya Yamanaka;http://www.gladstone.ucsf.edu/gladstone/site/yamanaka/ will receive linkurl:this year's Kyoto Prize;http://www.inamori-f.or.jp/laureates/k26_a_shinya/prs_e.html in Advanced Technology for his work on generating pluripotent stem cells from adult tissues, the non-profit Inamori Foundation announced today (June 18). Shinya YamanakaImage: The Lasker FoundationIn 2006, Yamanaka, currently a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular

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Lions, meet BeetleCam

By | June 18, 2010

Most wildlife photographers are hesitant to walk straight up to a lion to take its picture. Brothers linkurl:Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas;http://www.burrard-lucas.com/ feel the same way, but that didn't stop them from getting extreme close ups of one of Africa's most fearsome predators. They designed a rugged, remote-controlled camera car that could traverse the African plains, snapping photos of animals as it went, while keeping the brothers at a safe distance, hiding in a bush. Image: linkurl:

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More hope for genetic fix for HIV

By | June 16, 2010

Genetically modifying the stem cells of HIV patients may one day prove to be an effective, one-time therapy against the hard-to-kill virus, according to the results of a proof-of-principle trial published this week in Science Translational Medicine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDIn contrast to the widely used highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which patients must continue for their entire lives to control the virus, such a genetic treatment has the potent

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Good news for rare disease?

By | June 15, 2010

The mother of young twins with a rare genetic disease is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to administer linkurl:a non-prescription compound;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55377/ directly into the brains of her girls based on recent findings showing the compound dramatically improves cats with the disease. It may seem unusual for a parent to fill out such an application to the FDA, but Chris Hempel, who has two 6-year old children suffering from Niemann-Pick

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