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Creationist postdoc loses lawsuit

By | April 29, 2008

A Massachusetts federal court judge last week (April 22) dismissed the case against a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab because of the postdoc's creationist beliefs. The postdoc, Nathaniel Abraham, was dismissed from his position in the lab of molecular toxicologist linkurl:Mark Hahn;http://www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/mhahn/hahnm.html#Interests in November, 2004, after revealing that he believed in the literal truth of the Bible a

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Biotech in space?

By | April 28, 2008

Can the biotech and pharma make money in space? That was the question Congress posed at a hearing on the International Space Station's linkurl:future,;http://science.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=2167 held on Thursday (April 24). "I think I can," Tom Pickens, CEO of a spaceflight services company-turned biotech called SPACEHAB, told Congress. SPACEHAB has been sending up science payloads for the past 23 years. The company has mostly worked with government scientists, but when Pickens j

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Conflicts on HHS stem cell council

By | April 28, 2008

Nearly half the voting members of a Department of Health and Human Services linkurl:stem cell;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54071/ advisory council have financial conflicts of interest despite the committee's pledge to limit these types of conflicts, according to a linkurl:survey;http://www.cspinet.org/integrity/watch/200804281.html#1 conducted by a science watchdog group. The Center for Science in the Public Interest polled the 25 voting members of HHS's linkurl:Advisory Council

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Dissecting a massive squid: live

By | April 28, 2008

Ever seen a colossal squid dissected? Me neither. In fact, few biologists have glimpsed an intact specimen of the rare and elusive linkurl:squid;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14392/ species, much less observed one being probed and prodded on the dissection table. That's the reason a webcast beaming from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa recently caught my attention. Scientists there are defrosting a colossal squid that fishermen pulled from the icy waters of the Ross Se

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No to gene patents, says Euro group

By | April 28, 2008

Patents should be granted only for genetic tests, not for genes and DNA sequences, a working party from the linkurl:European Society of Human Genetics;http://www.eshg.org/ (ESHG) and linkurl:EuroGentest,;http://www.eurogentest.org/ a European Union-funded initiative to improve linkurl:genetic testing;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14181/ in Europe, said at a press conference on Thursday (April 24) according to linkurl:Medical News Today.;http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/105

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HIV vaccine research: crisis of faith?

By | April 24, 2008

HIV/AIDS researchers are despondent over the waning prospects of ever creating an effective vaccine against the virus, according to a linkurl:survey;http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-independents-hiv-survey-the-questions-and-answers-814936.html conducted by British newspaper __The Independent__. But can it really be all that bad? "Most scientists involved in Aids research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunisation

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House passes biotech funding bill

By | April 24, 2008

The US House of Representatives passed a linkurl:bill;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.05819: yesterday (Apr 23) that extends two programs providing federal grants to early-stage biotechs and other startups with promising ideas. The bill linkurl:reauthorizes;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54441/ both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs, which were due to sunset this year. The programs aim t

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Rooting out plant stress responses

By | April 24, 2008

Plant cellular responses are much more locally and temporally specialized than previously thought, a new study suggests. In growing Arabidopsis roots, different tissue layers respond to stressful conditions in highly cell-type specific ways, according to linkurl:research;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/115379 published online today (April 24) in Science. "By and large, plants have been viewed as single, uniform entities," said linkurl:Philip Benfey;http://www.biology.duke.edu/b

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The black box of pluripotency

By | April 24, 2008

What keeps stem cells pluripotent? In the past six months researchers have linkurl:reprogrammed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ human progenitor skin cells and linkurl:fully-differentiated;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54562/ Beta cells back into a pluripotent state. Despite these advances, little is known so far about how pluripotency is regulated. To find out, researchers have set their sights on a group of mammalian regulator genes known as the Polycomb Complex, t

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Bioterror art case dismissed

By | April 23, 2008

An artist who was linkurl:charged with mail and wire fraud;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22260/ for receiving postal packages of bacteria to be used in his artwork has been cleared. A federal judge on Monday (April 21) dismissed the case against Steven Kurtz, an art professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, saying that the government indictment against him "is insufficient on its face," The Buffalo News reported. Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers Univ

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