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Is it life now?

By | September 12, 2008

The wires - including, um, linkurl:Wired;http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/09/biologists-on-t.html - are abuzz this week with talk of research by Jack Szostak, a Harvard researcher who is trying to create synthetic life. The attention stems from results he presented last week at an Origin of Life conference, as well as data he's published recently. Loyal readers will recall that linkurl:we wrote about;http://www.the-scientist.com/2006/1/1/30/1/ Szostak's work nearly two years ago,

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Open access recall?

By | September 12, 2008

A new bill seeks to undo the NIH mandate requiring federally-funded research papers to be made publicly available within 12 months of acceptance for publication. In a hearing yesterday (September 11) the US House Committee on the Judiciary considered whether the mandate violates publishers' copyright. The committee's chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich), sponsored the bill, linkurl:HR6845, titled the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.6845: which wo

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A flashy defense

By | September 10, 2008

There are many ways to ward off a predator, but perhaps none so enthusiastic as the Giant honeybee's team "wave." New research, linkurl:published this week;http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003141 in PLoS One, demonstrates that a communal motion called the shimmering effect, in which hundreds of bees successively flip their abdomens upwards in a rapid wave, protects a hive by startling wasps away. "People have known for a long time that the Asian species of honeybees do this shimmering,

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Is systematic biology dead?

By | September 8, 2008

linkurl:Systematics;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13070/ and linkurl:taxonomy,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22424/ sciences involved with identifying and organizing living things into distinct groups and establishing the relationships between those groups, are in serious danger of going extinct, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldsctech/162/162.pdf released last month by a committee focused on science in the

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Hearing on open access mandate?

By | September 5, 2008

A government hearing set for next week will discuss a bill in the works that may address publishers' concerns with public access laws, according to the linkurl:Library Journal.;http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6593398.html?desc=topstory The House Committee on the Judiciary hearing is slated for September 11, according to the committee's linkurl:online schedule.;http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/legislation.html Although text for the legislation, entitled "Fair copyright in research wo

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Lancet retracts stem cell paper

By | September 5, 2008

UK-based medical journal __The Lancet__ has linkurl:retracted;http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet a linkurl:paper;http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607610149/abstract reporting on a clinical trial of a stem cell therapy for urinary incontinence, which has been mired in allegations of misconduct. In this week's issue of the journal, editors Sabine Kleinert and Richard Horton write that authors of an Austrian government inquiry "raise doubts as to whether a trial a

4 Comments

$400 million for genomics institute

By | September 4, 2008

In the largest act of US philanthropy for biomedical research, Eli and Edythe Broad have donated $400 million to the Broad Institute, a joint project between Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The gift builds on the $200 million with which the linkurl:Broads first funded the genomics institute;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21404/ in 2003 and 2004. "We're now making a $600 million dollar bet in total that this will be the place where the world's greatest scien

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EUREKA grants awarded

By | September 4, 2008

Thirty-eight researchers were awarded with grants totaling $42.2 million dollars this week for their "linkurl:wild and crazy;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53456/ " ideas to change the way science is done. The EUREKA program (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration), sought proposals from investigators that were linkurl:innovative,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54322/ but required little or no preliminary data. "There were so many good

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NIH reins in genome access

By | September 2, 2008

The NIH has turned the locks and barred the windows on several previously open access databases of genetic information in response to new research proving it's possible to identify a single individual's genetic profile out of a pool of DNA. Last week in linkurl:PLoS Genetics,;http://www.plosgenetics.org/home.action researchers from the University of California, Los Angles, and the Translational Genomics Institute in Phoenix published a new bioinformatics method for pinpointing an individual D

3 Comments

Obama: Yes to stem cells, funding

By | September 2, 2008

As controversy and rumors swirl around John McCain's newly-tapped running mate like tropical depression-force winds and the Republican National Convention sputters to a start, linkurl:Barack Obama;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54362/ vowed to lift the ban on stem cell research and set targets to reduce carbon emissions, and promised to double basic research budgets over the next decade. His promises are spelled out in responses to a science policy survey issued by research and scien

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