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Odd mutation pattern in flu

By | June 3, 2010

The seasonal flu's newfound and widespread drug resistance was made possible by an odd series of mutations -- at least two "permissive" mutations that evolved before the mutation for resistance even occurred, according to a study published this week in Science. A graphical depiction of the neuraminidase (NA) moleculewith the resistance mutation (H274Y) shown in pink.The two compensatory mutations (V234M and R222Q)at the sites shown in orange may help the proteinfolding in a way that rescues vi


Video: See first blood flow

By | June 3, 2010

What does it take for blood to start flowing for the first time in an embryo? That's the question that Atsuko Sehara-Fujisawa at Kyoto University and colleagues set out to answer by catching zebrafish blood vessels on film as they matured. The researchers saw that the blood cell precursors entered blood vessels and stayed there immobile, possibly tethered to the inner wall by adhesion molecules called PSGL1. It's not until an enzyme called ADAM8, a metalloprotease, is expressed by the blood cel


New scientists, better mentors?

By | June 2, 2010

How many graduate students a scientist advises over the course of his or her career and when he or she does so can affect how successful those students are in their own careers, and not in the way one might expect, according to a study published this week in Nature that looked at the field of mathematics. Image: Wikimedia commonsSpecifically, the researchers found that students appeared to fare well (measured by whether they eventually mentored many students of their own) if they were advised


Plant sex signal found

By | June 2, 2010

Today, more than a century after a German-Polish botanist first described the process of fertilization in flowering plants, scientists have identified an elusive molecular signal critical to that process. The finding, published this week in linkurl:PLoS Biology,; sheds light on the evolution of plant fertilization mechanisms and could lead to strategies to overcome species-specific barriers for crossbreeding crops.

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Hematology studies retracted

By | June 1, 2010

Three papers on drug sensitivity in leukemia patients have been retracted from two journals after an anonymous tip to one of the publications revealed that a PhD student fudged immunofluorescence images. Francesca Messa, a student in the University of Turin laboratory of hematologist linkurl:Giuseppe Saglio,; admitted to "intentionally providing false confocal images," in a linkurl:retraction;http://www.


Q&A: Biodiversity, distorted

By | June 1, 2010

There is growing concern about the loss of biodiversity worldwide, but scientists cannot measure how much an ecosystem has changed without good historical data. However, this data may be skewed, with certain time periods, species, or regions better represented than others. linkurl:Elizabeth Boakes,; an ecologist at Imperial College's Natural Environmental Research Council Centre for Population Biology in Berkshire, United Kingdom and her team looked f


The world cup of science fairs

By | May 28, 2010

Forget baking soda volcanoes and lima beans in paper towels. The fourteen high school students at the recent BIO International Convention in Chicago were more interested in how to differentiate stem cells into pancreatic endoderm, which factors inhibit cell proliferation in glioblastomas, and why an antioxidant has anti-angiogenic effects on epithelial ovarian cancer. "We enjoy it," smiles Raina Jain of Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the first-place winner of this year's linku


Q&A: Randomness reigns in ecology

By | May 27, 2010

The environment is not the only key factor in determining which species will populate a given habitat -- random, stochastic processes may also play a significant role, according to a study published online today (May 27) on the Science Express website. Study author linkurl:Jonathan Chase,; a community ecologist at Washington University in Saint Louis, talked with The Scientist about why randomness is so important to species composition,


10 retractions and counting

By | May 26, 2010

In an unusually large case of misconduct, an immunology lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has pulled 10 papers so far, with about five more expected, and cancelled a clinical trial after a senior research associate was found guilty of falsifying data. Image: Wikimedia commons"I was shocked when I initially got the letter from Dr. [Larry] Pease" -- linkurl:the head of the lab; -- "stating the decision to retract all these papers (appro


Senior Lancet editor sacked

By | May 26, 2010

Global health advocate Rhona MacDonald has been fired from her position as senior editor at __The Lancet__ for what she describes as a violation of the confidentiality policy held by the journal's publisher Elsevier. MacDonald, who had worked at __The Lancet__ for more than three years, said that she was disciplined for sending out a draft and a final version of an editorial she said she wrote about the future of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) -- which over



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