The Nutshell

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10 retractions and counting

By | May 26, 2010

In an unusually large case of misconduct, an immunology lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has pulled 10 papers so far, with about five more expected, and cancelled a clinical trial after a senior research associate was found guilty of falsifying data. Image: Wikimedia commons"I was shocked when I initially got the letter from Dr. [Larry] Pease" -- linkurl:the head of the lab;http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/staff/pease_lr.cfm -- "stating the decision to retract all these papers (appro

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Senior Lancet editor sacked

By | May 26, 2010

Global health advocate Rhona MacDonald has been fired from her position as senior editor at __The Lancet__ for what she describes as a violation of the confidentiality policy held by the journal's publisher Elsevier. MacDonald, who had worked at __The Lancet__ for more than three years, said that she was disciplined for sending out a draft and a final version of an editorial she said she wrote about the future of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) -- which over

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Oil spill is boon to bacteria

By | May 25, 2010

Last month's blowout of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil well -- which caused the US Commerce Department to decree today (25th May) that fisheries in three states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are official disasters -- is likely already impacting the Gulf's microscopic denizens, which will, in turn, have long-term effects on commercially important species such as fish and shrimp, scientists say. Image: National Oceanographic andAtmospheric AdministrationImages of oil-soaked sea gulls an

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Data after death

By | May 24, 2010

It's usually not a situation scientists tend to think about -- until, tragically, they must. linkurl:Karen Strier,;http://www.anthropology.wisc.edu/people_strier.php a biological anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, previously gave no thoughts to what would happen to her data, equipment, funding, and lab personnel -- the graduate students, postdocs, and research technicians -- should she die. Then she lost a colleague and a student in short succession. Image: Wikimedia commo

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Misconduct case drags on

By | May 24, 2010

A lengthy review of a University of Washington researcher's alleged transgressions leads to his termination.

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News in a nutshell

By | May 24, 2010

DNA sequence affects mutation rateA new linkurl:report;http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2010/05/11/gr.103283.109.abstract published today in __Genome Research__ shows that the DNA molecule itself influences its own mutation rate. Specifically, Jean-Claude Walser and Anthony Furano from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Basel found that sequences high in C and G encourage mutations, and even encourage particular types of mutations. The findings suggest that mutation rat

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1st cell with synthetic genome

By | May 20, 2010

After a 15-year marathon, researchers have created the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome, reported online today at Science. The advance, a landmark in synthetic biology, could someday be used to engineer microbes for environmental or medical applications. "This is a very impressive piece," said linkurl:Jim Collins,;http://www.bu.edu/bme/people/primary/collins/ a bioengineer at Boston University, who was not involved in the study. The research is a "methodological tour de force," sai

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COI changes at NIH?

By | May 20, 2010

The National Institutes of Health is suggesting reducing the minimum financial conflict of interest that must be disclosed, among other changes to its conflict policy, the agency announced this morning at a teleconference. Image: Wikimedia commons, King of HeartsIf the changes are accepted, the minimum financial conflict that must be reported to the agency will be lowered from $10,000 to $5,000. "Clearly the way in which science is moving forward, in order to be successful, partnerships betwee

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COMPETES Act revived?

By | May 19, 2010

A legislative measure that would increase funding to the National Science Foundation and other federal science agencies may get a second chance at passage after Republicans attempted to linkurl:kill the bill;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57409/ last week. Rep. Bart GordonImage: United States CongressChairman of the linkurl:U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology;http://science.house.gov/ Bart Gordon (D-TN) announced yesterday (18th May) that he'd be reintro

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New NSF grants for oil spill

By | May 19, 2010

The National Science Foundation is ramping up to fund research projects that will probe inky depths of the Gulf of Mexico to determine the biological impact of the blown out Deepwater Horizon oil well, which continues to spew petroleum into the ocean. Marine geoscientist linkurl:Bilal Haq,;http://www.nsf.gov/staff/staff_bio.jsp?lan=bhaq&org=NSF&from_org= director of NSF's Marine Geology and Geophysics program, is spearheading the agency's effort to fund researchers speeding to the Gulf to study

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