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Say your prayers, cane toads

By | April 4, 2008

Though Australian scientists are working to linkurl:engineer a virus;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54497/ to control the invasive pests, an Aussie politician has suggested a less subtle solution: kill 'em all. Shane Knuth, a legislator in the northeastern state of Queensland (where cane toads thrive), has proposed and official day for residents to hunt down and kill the exotic invaders. Cane toads have plagued the land down under for decades, and their increasing numbers and tox

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Antibiotics feed bacteria

By | April 3, 2008

Hundreds of bacteria isolated from soil samples are able to live exclusively on antibiotics as a food source, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5872/100 published today (April 3) in Science. The researchers, led by linkurl:George Church;http://arep.med.harvard.edu/gmc/ of Harvard Medical School, isolated bacteria from 11 distinct soil types. They showed that these bacteria could subsist in culture dishes exclusively on, in some cases, 13-17 of 18

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New metastasis mechanism revealed

By | April 3, 2008

A signaling molecule commonly found in cancerous tissue primes some breast tumor cells to metastasize to lung but not bone tissue, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.cell.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS0092867408002110 to be published in __Cell__ tomorrow (Apr. 4). "This work basically provides a deeper understanding of how linkurl:breast cancer;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13530/ spreads throughout the body," said linkurl:David Padua,;http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/

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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

1 Comment

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

3 Comments

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

6 Comments

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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