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Cloning ban to stay down under?

By | June 19, 2006

Australian stem cell researchers got some bad news today when newspapers reported that senior ministers in the national government are going to ignore the linkurl:advice;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23355/ of an independent review that had recommended somatic cell nuclear transfer be permitted for research. That might have been the advice, but at a Cabinet meeting today ministers are expected to retain the status quo. Two of the main figures behind the decision are health minister

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Biodiversity gets its 15 minutes

By | June 15, 2006

Last evening, during Edward O. Wilson?s Baptist sermon-like address to an auditorium of 600 diverse faces at the American Museum of Natural History, the environment and its advocates got a bit of a pep talk. With the eminent naturalist?s signature articulacy, humor, and frankness (take "Soccer moms are the greatest enemy of natural history," or "It might have been a big mistake to give economics a Nobel Prize"), he took on the case for studying and preserving biodiversity. N

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What? There?s news in peer review?

By | June 15, 2006

People linkurl:love to complain;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23061/ about peer review. (The system is too secretive, reviewers nix their competitors? papers, etc.) Still, very little ever changes in peer review, so the same complaints circulate for years with no noticeable effect. So when something potentially system-altering happens, it?s newsworthy. Last week, Nature performed such a service by introducing a linkurl:new feature;http://blogs.nature.com/nature/peerreview/trial/

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Stumping for stem cells

By | June 14, 2006

The linkurl:California stem cell policy and advocacy juggernaut;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23097/ was in full steam this weekend at Stanford University. The two-day linkurl:Stem Cell Policy and Advocacy Summit II: Empowering the Pro-Cures Coalition;http://www.pro-cures.com offered a banquet of the usual servings, including scientific updates, discussions of linkurl:ethics;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23251/ and legal issues, and how-to primers on grassroots advocacy.

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Buying your own lab

By | June 9, 2006

Last November, we linkurl:reported;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15837/ that the owners of an upscale spa in New York State had 'offered $10 million to the University of Chicago for the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis. ? one of the nation's most historically important, if no longer scientifically advanced, observatories.' Well, they got it. According to a press release this week from the resort firm, Mirbeau will build a 100-room retreat and 73 small homes on the 30 acres

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Babraham appoints Wakelam

By | June 5, 2006

The UK?s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) linkurl:announced;http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media/pressreleases/06_06_01_wakelam.html a couple of days ago that it had appointed Michael Wakelam, currently of the University of Birmingham, to be its director as of January 1 next year. Wakelam looks to be a good match for the institute, which conducts research and training in the mechanisms of cell communication and gene regulation. His own area of expertise is cell signaling,

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Fraud on the wing

By | May 29, 2006

The linkurl:__New Yorker__;http://www.newyorker.com delves into a scientific fraud this week (see below). This one, upward of five decades old, was uncovered largely by ornithologist Pamela Rasmussen, an assistant prof at Michigan State who is co-author of ?Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide,? linkurl:reviewed here.;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438916a.html In preparing the guide, she took to task one Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, member of the Royal Fusiliers, inte

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Support for histone code?

By | May 22, 2006

Four papers released online today detail some of the work from David Allis? group and others that?s detailed in our linkurl:recent article;http://www.the-scientist.com/2006/5/1/34/1/ on chromatin remodeling. In two __Nature__ papers released today, Allis, a Rockefeller chromatin researcher, along with postdocs Joanna Wysocka and Tomek Swigut and a team led by structural biologist Dinshaw Patel, from Memorial Sloan Kettering, report on BPTF, the largest subunit of the nucleosome remodeling facto

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Proteins in vivo often function in complexes, and indeed, that?s how many individual structural biology efforts approach them. Not structural genomics efforts, though: For all their high-throughput methods, structural genomics pipelines typically treat proteins individually, in isolation. A linkurl:paper;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0602606103v1 released May 11 in __PNAS__ could help bridge this gap. The new method, developed by linkurl:David Eisenberg;http://www.doe-mbi.ucla.edu/P

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The FDA's identity crisis

By | May 17, 2006

On its hundredth birthday, the Food and Drug Administration is having a bit of an identity crisis. The FDA has long been conflicted as to whether it is primarily a regulatory or a scientific entity, said Peter Barton Hutt, former chief counsel for the administration, at yesterday?s FDA Centennial Conference in Philadelphia. In fact, it was the subject of what Hutt called "one of the funniest congressional debates I?ve sat through" during his FDA tenure in the 1970s. Now, as various ?o

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