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Research boom in developing world

By | October 13, 2009

Science funding in developing countries grew three times more rapidly than in developed countries between 2002 and 2007, says a linkurl:report;http://www.uis.unesco.org/ev.php?ID=7793_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC released last week (October 6) from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics in Montreal, Canada. But a country-by-country analysis shows that not all developing regions consider supporting research a priority. Image: CIA World Factbook "I am delighted with the increase in funding," said linkurl:Mohame

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Frog-killing fungus clues found

By | October 12, 2009

New findings may help ecologists understand the spread of a deadly fungus decimating amphibian populations worldwide. A group of fungi called chytrids, which includes a frog-killing pathogen, dominates soil communities in otherwise relatively lifeless habitats atop mountains in the Rockies and in Nepal, where water and multi-cellular life is often scarce, researchers report. Though these assemblages did not include the infamous __Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis__ (BD), which has hammered global

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Hubbub brews for HIV vax data

By | October 12, 2009

With just a week left until the full results of the Thai HIV vaccine trial are released, researchers are raising questions about whether the linkurl:preliminary data reported last month;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55995/ reveal but a small and misleading glimpse of the full study results. Meanwhile, a major AIDS healthcare provider this morning (October 12) linkurl:called for an independent evaluation of the data.;http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS75947+12-Oct-2009+BW

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How to ID human pluripotency

By | October 11, 2009

Stem cell researchers must take more care in identifying true pluripotency in reprogrammed human cells, according to a study published online today (October 11) in Nature Biotechnology. The paper outlines strict molecular criteria for recognizing pluripotency, and warns that relying on just a single marker will muddle the field. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"All too often people in the human [stem cell] field use the most minimal criteria to call cells

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Disputed patent rules dropped

By | October 9, 2009

A two-year battle between the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and biopharma over a much-contested set of patent rules ended yesterday (October 8) when the USPTO linkurl:rescinded the rules altogether.;http://www.uspto.gov/news/09_21.jsp "These regulations have been highly unpopular from the outset and were not well received by the applicant community," said David Kappos, director of the USPTO, in a statement. "In taking the actions we are announcing [October 8], we hope to engage the ap

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Open access bill stalls in Congress

By | October 8, 2009

A bill designed to make scientific research funded by the US government's 11 largest funding bodies accessible for free by the general public is hibernating in the US legislature, awaiting some resolution in the heated health care reform debate before it can be seriously discussed by lawmakers. Congressional staffers in the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where the linkurl:Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) of 2009;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c1

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Ruth Kirschstein dies

By | October 8, 2009

Ruth Kirschstein, a trusted advisor and long-time administrator at the National Institutes of Health who helped develop and refine safety tests of viral vaccines for diseases such as rubella, measles, and polio, died last night (Oct. 6) after "battling a long illness," according to the NIH. In 1974, Kirschstein was the first woman to serve as director of an NIH institute -- the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)-- and served as acting NIH director on several occasions. She wa

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Viral cause for chronic fatigue?

By | October 8, 2009

A recently-discovered virus found to be associated with prostate cancer has now been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to a linkurl:study published;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1179052 online in Science today (8 October). The study, although only correlative, lends a greater immediacy to questions about how the virus is spread and what, if any, other diseases it might cause. XMRVImage: Whittmore Peterson Institute"Either [the virus] is a causative factor or

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2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry announced

By | October 7, 2009

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will go to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a molecular and cell biologist at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, Thomas Steitz, a molecular biochemist at Yale University, and Ada Yonath, a structural biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel for their work mapping the ribosome--one of the cell's most complex machines--at the atomic level. They will share the prize equally. Please check back later today for full coverage o

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Human variation revealed

By | October 7, 2009

Scientists have generated the most comprehensive map of the structural variation that exists among normal, healthy humans, according to a study published online today in Nature. Understanding normal variation between individuals is critical to identifying abnormal changes that may contribute to a wide variety of heritable diseases. Image: Wikimedia commons"I think it's considered to be a landmark paper," said geneticist linkurl:Frank Speleman;http://users.ugent.be/%7Efspelema/neubla/nb.htm of t

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