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No circ. clock for reindeer?

By | March 11, 2010

Arctic reindeer, which live most of the year in 24-hour darkness or daylight, may lack an internal clock common to most organisms, according to research published online today (March 11) in __Current Biology.__ ReindeerImage: Per Harald Olsen/WikimediaThe study found no evidence of cyclic changes in reindeer gene expression, consistent with behavioral evidence that the arctic animals do not rely on such daily rhythms. But the fact that the researchers only investigated two clock genes in one

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Cancer biotech slashes R&D

By | March 10, 2010

Cancer genomics company Exelixis announced on Monday that it would cut 270 jobs, a loss of about 40% of its workforce, with the brunt of the cuts aimed at drug discovery, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Image: Donovan Govan/WikimediaThe company, which is using genomic models of cancer to screen a massive library of compounds, estimates the layoff and subsequent restructuring will save $90 million through 2011. Last year __The Scientist__ profiled the company's linkurl:

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New model org? Cluck cluck

By | March 10, 2010

The humble chicken has provided humanity with meat, eggs, and wake-up calls for centuries, and new research probing the bird's DNA may point to an expansion of another role for the flightless fowl: biomedical model organism. Image: Michael Gäbler via Wikipedia CommonsUppsala University functional genomicist linkurl:Leif Andersson;http://www.imbim.uu.se/forskning/anderssonresearch.html and colleagues used cutting-edge sequencing technology to comb the chicken genome and identified some gene

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Stem cell regs to become law?

By | March 10, 2010

US President Barack Obama's 2009 executive order to allow the federal funding of research using new human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines may become law. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyYesterday (March 9), on the one-year anniversary of Obama's announcement, members of Congress Diana DeGette of Colorado and Mike Castle of Delaware reintroduced the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act to "ensure a lasting ethical framework" for such research. DeGette and Cas

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Defunct CF drug reborn

By | March 8, 2010

A cystic fibrosis drug that seemed destined for death when its company faced financial troubles (and eventually linkurl:went belly up;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55982/ last year) is being revived by another company. Image: Wikipedia A new company launched by a veteran of the defunct company (Altus Pharmaceuticals, which linkurl:we profiled;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55882/ last year) plans to submit the drug, a pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, to the US Foo

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Journal editor facing axe

By | March 8, 2010

Elsevier has asked the editor-in-chief of its only non-peer-reviewed journal, linkurl:Medical Hypotheses,;http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/623059/description to either resign immediately or implement a series of changes, including a traditional peer-review system. Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/ The journal's editor-in-chief linkurl:Bruce Charlton;http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/publicity/dofe/charlton.html told The Scientist tha

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News in a nutshell

By | March 8, 2010

Hand (de)sanitizer?The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uncovered a nasty little additive in some Puerto Rican hand sanitizers: bacteria. The FDA linkurl:warned;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm202955.htm consumers to use neither Bee-Shield Hand Sanitizer nor MD Quality Hand Sanitizer -- which are only distributed in the Caribbean territory -- because the two products may contain __Burkholderia cepacia__, a bacterium that can cause serious infections if used on c

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Stem cells: home of HIV?

By | March 7, 2010

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can infect bone marrow cells -- including, possibly, hematopoietic stem cells, according to a study published online today (March 7) in Nature Medicine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDThe findings suggest the virus can hide in an inactive state for long periods of time, evading treatment, even in individuals without detectable viral loads. "It's a little bit surprising to see that [HIV infects] progenitor cells, and [possibly] ste

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Painting climate change

By | March 5, 2010

In a remarkable union of science and art, landscape painter linkurl:Diane Burko;http://www.dianeburko.com/ shows how the planet's glaciers have changed form over the last century in her latest exhibit linkurl:"Politics of Snow.";http://www.locksgallery.com/exhibits.php?eid=74 To tell the story, Burko tracked down glaciologists from the US Geological Survey's linkurl:National Snow and Ice Data Center;http://nsidc.org/ at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and others. She then painted a series

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AZ cuts hundreds of scientists

By | March 4, 2010

Drug maker AstraZeneca is pink-slipping approximately 550 Wilmington, Delaware-based researchers and their support staff in a move to help balance the company's books and save it $1.9 billion per year by 2014. Image: B.gliwa via Wikipedia CommonsThe company told the linkurl:__Philadelphia Inquirer__;http://www.philly.com/philly/business/86127882.html yesterday (March 3rd) that the layoffs are part of a plan to shutter an entire research group, focused on identifying candidate compounds for psyc

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