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Thousands of NIH laptops unprotected

By | April 11, 2008

Earlier this week I posted a linkurl:blog;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54534/ on the digital security problems at NIH, which revealed the agency cannot encrypt sensitive data, such as the personal information (including social security numbers) of clinical trial patients, on Macintosh laptops used by NIH employees. So how many Mac laptops do NIH employees use? I had a hard time uncovering that number, until I got a call today from NIH spokesperson, Don Ralbovsky, who gave me a "bal

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Arabidopsis evolution study pulled

By | April 10, 2008

Plant biologists have withdrawn a study on linkurl:__Arabidopsis thaliana__;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54194/ evolution published in a 2004 issue of __Science__, saying one of its conclusions was marred by contamination, according to a retraction appearing today (Apr. 10) in the journal. The original linkurl:paper,;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/306/5704/2081 authored by then North Carolina State University genomicist linkurl:Michael Purugganan;http://www.the-s

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Bacteria blending into single species?

By | April 10, 2008

Two bacterial species found in the guts of chickens, pigs and other animals are merging into a single species after the domestication of livestock brought the two microbes together, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5873/237 published today in Science. The research indicates that "despeciation" can be an important consequence of environmental changes in bacterial evolution. Bacteria linkurl:swap genes;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54429/

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Giuseppe Attardi dies

By | April 10, 2008

linkurl:Giuseppe Attardi,;http://biology.caltech.edu/Members/Attardi the California Institute of Technology researcher who identified all the genes in human mtDNA and uncovered the mitochondrial genome's role in degenerative diseases and linkurl:aging,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23324/ died Saturday (Apr 5), linkurl:according;http://mr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR13125.html to the university. He was 84 years old. Caltech said that Attardi died at his Altadena, CA home but

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Security risks at NIH?

By | April 10, 2008

The National Institutes of Health this week warned its employees that Apple Macintosh laptops cannot be encrypted using the agency's software, leaving unprotected sensitive data such as personal information (including linkurl:social security numbers);http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/09/AR2008040903680.html from thousands of clinical trial participants. In February, a laptop containing the unencrypted personal information from more than 3,000 patients participating in

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Takeda acquires Millennium

By | April 10, 2008

When I profiled Millennium Pharmaceuticals' chief scientific officer, Joe Bolen, in last month's issue of __The Scientist,__ he described some amusing airport foibles that had taken place during a linkurl:recent trip to Japan.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54340/ Now the whole company is going to Japan - at least on paper. Today, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, one of the first genomics companies in the US, was linkurl:acquired;http://investor.millennium.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=80159&p=ir

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Visa woe pushes scientist out of US

By | April 10, 2008

Last August, I reported on Mohammad Sajid, a UK citizen who was barred from returning to the US pending several months of linkurl:background checks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53418/ - twice. On Monday I got an e-mail from Sajid saying he is leaving his lab in the US, where he works on anti-malarial drugs, to take a job at Leiden University in the Netherlands. "It's been a really tough choice," Sajid said. "The main reason is the travel. It's as simple as that." When I last spo

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1st cancer vaccine approved in Russia

By | April 9, 2008

A New York-based biotech company announced today (April 8) that it has received approval for the first linkurl:therapeutic cancer vaccine;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/18859/ -- in Russia. It is the first approval by a regulatory body of a cancer immunotherapy. The therapy's approval in Russia won't in itself boost its chances for approval in the US or the EU, or improve the prospects of other cancer vaccines that are in the biotech pipeline, Ren Benjamin, senior biotech analyst

2 Comments

Ge-what-ics?: Nation's teenagers

By | April 9, 2008

A significant portion of American high schoolers have seriously flawed ideas about genetics, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/abstract/178/3/1157 conducted by the country's largest society for genetics professionals. The study, which was published in this month's issue of __Genetics__, contained some fallacy-ridden quotations from the student essays. Here are some of the notable examples: "When people who cannot have children and want their own from their own bl

9 Comments

Hybrid embryos challenged

By | April 9, 2008

Two Christian groups launched legal action today (Apr. 9) challenging licenses granted to UK scientists to create human-animal hybrid embryos for research purposes, according to the linkurl:The Press Association.;http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5in0LcrQJp4_o18yGsYuhTXWyasiQ In January, the linkurl:Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53564/ (HFEA), Britain's oversight body for stem cell research, awarded licenses to research groups at New

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