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Red fish, blue fish, speciation?

By | October 2, 2008

Capturing the eye of a potential mate is the first step in propagating a species. But can the way a female sees males of a certain color lead a single species of fish to split into linkurl:two?;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14251/ A study published this week in Nature suggests two species of cichlid fish -- one red and one blue -- may have arisen from the female mating preference for males she is best able to see. "We've wanted since Darwin to understand how species originate,

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HIV's time of origin confirmed

By | October 1, 2008

Analysis of a newly-identified 48-year-old tissue sample from a woman infected with linkurl:HIV;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53516/ has confirmed that the virus emerged in the early 20th century, researchers report today in Nature. By comparing the differences between the sequence of this sample from 1960, the second-oldest ever found, and that of a 1959 sample identified a decade ago, linkurl:Michael Worobey;http://eebweb.arizona.edu/Faculty/Bios/worobey.html of the Universit

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Place your 2008 Nobel bets

By | October 1, 2008

Predicting who will win Nobel Prizes is a tricky business. The Nobel committees' nomination and selection processes are cloaked in mystery. Each year, though, a couple brave organizations try their luck. One of these is Thomson Reuters, which has linkurl:released;http://scientific.thomsonreuters.com/nobel/essay/ a list of Nobel picks every year since 2002. Thomson bases its picks largely on the citation data that ISI - a part of Thomson Scientific founded by __The Scientist__ founder linkurl:Eu

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Calif. law protects researchers

By | September 30, 2008

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state linkurl:bill;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54494/ Sunday (Sept. 28) that aims to protect academic researchers - especially linkurl:those who use animals in their studies -;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54933/ from the types of attacks that animal rights groups have employed in the state recently. The linkurl:law,;http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_2251-2300/ab_2296_bill_20080904_enrolled.html called the

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US science funding frozen

By | September 30, 2008

The financial crisis befalling the nation has proven that its tentacles reach even into the scientific community. On Saturday (Sept. 27), the US Senate decided to freeze federal funding of any program except those relating to veterans affairs and national security by linkurl:passing;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR02638:@@@X bill linkurl:HR 2638.;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR02638:@@@L&summ2=m& This leaves many US science agencies including NASA, the National In

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A complement for cancer?

By | September 29, 2008

A protein belonging to part of the immune system that researchers once hoped to harness to attack cancer cells actually spurs tumor growth, according to a study reported in linkurl:__Nature Immunology.__;http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ni.1655.html Researchers knocked out a receptor for one of a group of 30 proteins called linkurl:complement proteins,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23823/ part of the body's normal immune defense repertoire, and observed decrea

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A microbe's surprising defense

By | September 29, 2008

A single-celled phytoplankton has a wily way of resisting viral attack, according to a study out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The organism makes itself invisible to its viral predator by shifting from the diploid to haploid life cycle stage. The findings are the first to show a eukaryote is capable of switching stages in its life cycle to avoid viral attack, and to point to a previously unrecognized role of sexual reproduction in the phytoplankton, Emiliania

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HHMI picks new president

By | September 29, 2008

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has chosen a University of California, Berkeley, biochemist and stem cell researcher to serve as its next president. linkurl:Robert Tjian,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54516/ an HHMI investigator since 1987, will replace outgoing president, Thomas Cech, on April 1, 2009, when Cech linkurl:leaves;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/16016/ his post. HHMI sent an E-mail to its investigators earlier today announcing the decision. "Bob Tjia

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Should conflicts mean no NIH grant?

By | September 29, 2008

If you've been following the news of NIH-funded researchers seemingly entangled in webs of unreported, underreported, or misreported financial ties to industry over the past year or so, you know that the buck often stops at the desk of linkurl:Sen. Charles Grassley;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54832/ (R-IA). You might have also noticed that many of the subjects of Grassley's recent inquiries are psychiatrists who are funded by NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In fa

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Forensic fishing

By | September 26, 2008

How is a kidnapper's text message similar to a jellyfish? Both are tiny points in a sea of data that scientists can use to draw conclusions about a bigger picture -- be it identifying a serial rapist or measuring linkurl:biodiversity,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ according to linkurl:Andrew Price,;http://www.bio.warwick.ac.uk/res/frame.asp?ID=36 a marine ecologist who is working with forensic scientists to apply taxonomic techniques to crime assessment. Ecologists routin

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