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Does blogged peer review work?

By | April 2, 2008

Can the blogosphere work as well as the traditional peer review system? Over the past two months one researcher has been trying to linkurl:find out.;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54189/ Based on his and his publisher's early assessment of the experiment, using blog-based peer reviewing is only partially helpful, The Chronicle of Higher Education linkurl:reported;http://chronicle.com/free/2008/04/2332n.htm?rss today. The experiment was run by University of California, San Diego, com

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UK lab creates hybrid embryo

By | April 2, 2008

Hybrid embryos containing both human and animal material have been created for the first time in the UK, the linkurl:BBC;http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7323298.stm reported yesterday (April 1). Scientists at Newcastle University led by Lyle Armstrong inserted nuclei from human skin cells into hollowed-out cow eggs to create cytoplasmic linkurl:hybrids,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53564/ or "cybrids." Some of the human-animal embryos lived for three days, and the largest grew u

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HHMI president steps down

By | April 1, 2008

linkurl:Thomas Cech,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12099/ a Nobel laureate who studied the catalytic properties of RNA, has announced plans to step down from the top spot at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, according to the organization's linkurl:website.;http://www.hhmi.org/news/cech20080401.html Cech, who has been HHMI president since 2000, said in a communication to institute staff that the time had come for a change. In the spring of 2009, Cech will return to his position

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New patent rules overturned

By | April 1, 2008

A Virginia court struck down today (April 1) linkurl:new patent rules;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53497/ which pharma and biotech companies argued would have limited their ability to protect their intellectual property. The new rules, which were finalized by the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) last August, limit inventors to two continuing applications, which add claims to an existing patent, and cap the total number of claims in a patent at 25. "Specifically in lif

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The perils of DNA import/export

By | April 1, 2008

Ever had trouble transporting DNA across international borders? I was in linkurl:Taiwan;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53597/ last year covering a conference on linkurl:DNA barcoding,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ which was attended by scientists from all over the world. Most of them were studying linkurl:cryptic;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/12/1/39/1/ flora or fauna endemic to far-flung countries; usually not their own. A few researchers told me nightmari

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When a supplier switches

By | March 31, 2008

At the end of last year, The Scientist editors spotted a linkurl:warning notice;http://www.quantabio.com/bio-rad.php on the Quanta Biosciences Web site that their supply relationship with Bio-Rad had been terminated. In particular, certain PCR reagents that Quanta had been manufacturing for Bio-Rad were no longer the same and Bio-Rad was now making its own formulations. The key question is: Are the reagents any different? If so, how? The answer, so far, has proved elusive. I heard from severa

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CIRM to pay for eggs?

By | March 27, 2008

Recent comments by California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) President Alan Trounson imply that the agency may be looking for ways to pay women for their eggs for stem cell research. Currently, laws in California and Massachusetts — two leader states in stem cell research — prohibit compensation for eggs. But with a shortage of available human eggs for research purposes, the issue remains a national sticking point to the progress of stem cell research and linkurl:cloning

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Congressional pork fatter than ever

By | March 26, 2008

In FY2008, more Congressional pork-barrel project money flowed into US academic institutions that ever before, according to an linkurl:analysis;http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i29/29a00101.htm published in this week's issue of __The Chronicle of Higher Education__. __The Chronicle's__ data showed that lawmakers directed more than two billion non-competitive dollars from more than 2,300 projects to 920 universities and colleges, an increase of 25 percent in the number of institutions receiving Con

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Retinal cells see up

By | March 26, 2008

A new type of retinal cell with tree-like dendrites detects upward motion, researchers report in today's linkurl:issue;;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v452/n7186/abs/nature06739.html of __Nature.__ The method used in the current study to detect cell subtypes may prove useful in finding molecular markers of other retinal cells, as well as brain neurons. It was a fortuitous discovery, said author Markus Meister from Harvard University. The researchers had set out to look for retinal ce

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Rumblings over Science retractions

By | March 26, 2008

The conversation is not over regarding two recent retractions of papers on enzyme engineering. Two letters linkurl:published;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/319/5863/569b this month in Science say that the explanation of retraction issued by linkurl:Homme Hellinga's;http://www.biochem.duke.edu/faculty/homme-hellinga group at Duke University does not account for many of the errors in the original publications. The linkurl:Grantsmanship blog;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/science

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