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The Nutshell

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Early Days

By | January 10, 2006

A beautiful day in San Francisco and although many of the meetings at this year's H&Q conference seemed to spill into the streets surrounding the St. Francis Hotel, with men in suits or casual attire mingling in groups of two and three on the sidewalks, the lobby and hallways of the Hotel are still packed full of industry executives looking to make things happen. That's right, my first impression of this year's conference, and perhaps indicative of what's to come in 2006: people want to do deal

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Nature got lucky, and so did I

By | January 10, 2006

I found out today that I got lucky. Human cloning has always received the lion's share of headlines, but I've always been more fascinated by the cloning of the lions ? animal cloning, in particular the quirky but earnest gang that would like to clone your pet for royal sums. So I might have felt vindicated by today's news ? which I reported on linkurl:here;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/22933/ ? that while Woo-Suk Hwang's claims on human cloning were based on fraud, his cloning of lin

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Shooting for the stars here on Earth

By | January 10, 2006

I was grateful for the linkurl:invitation;http://www.amnh.org/rose/specials/?src=p_h to witness the return to Earth of NASA?s Stardust mission broadcast live from the American Museum of Natural History this Sunday. While the notion of roaming the halls of a favorite childhood retreat at 5am is appealing, I?m even more enthralled by the possibilities of Stardust, an unmanned spacecraft which captured particles from the comet Wild 2 offering the possibility of a glimpse into the very birth of the

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Preparing for the H&Q

By | January 6, 2006

Every January, the movers and shakers of biotech come to the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco to see and be seen, exchange information and move money by funding companies and forming partnerships and other alliances. Thousands of bankers, analysts and company executives mix and mingle at JP Morgan's Annual Healthcare Conference (often still called the H&Q), setting the tone for the year in biotech. Those attending the invitation-only conference go to the company presentations and meet in hall

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An entirely appropriate stew of scientific vexation and mortification has accompanied revelations that the incredible Korean achievements in human embryonic cloning and stem cell research are exactly that: incredible. But midst the hand-wringing over failures of peer review--and justified alarm over the future of human embryo clones and stem cell research--an intriguing fact has been obscured. Woo Suk Hwang would still be a rock-star equivalent, and frustrated researchers would still be trying

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Genomes in the Supermarket

By | December 22, 2005

I can no longer shop happily. Representing the first genomics craze to hit supermarket shelves, Sciona, a Colorado based biotech just started marketing a nutrigenomics product called Cellf in supermarkets for about $100. These kits include a lifestyle-assessment and family-profile questionnaire and a cheek swab. Mail in the lot and you?ll get back a genetically personalized recommendation for living healthy. A collaboration with the supermarket chain includes specific advice from supermar

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Discovery Institute?s Silver Lining

By | December 21, 2005

The Discovery Institute, a well funded Intelligent Design mouthpiece, offered a scathing review of Judge John E. Jones III?s decision in Kitzmiller vs. The Dover Area School District. This is the same Discovery Institute that had all but deserted the school board in an effort to distance themselves from proceedings admonishing the board for stepping so early into the fray of teaching their fledgling hypothesis to minors. The distance and static they put up indicated that they expected the Dove

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Judge Jones Kicks out ID

By | December 21, 2005

Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the mention of Intelligent Design in Dover area high schools as an alternative to evolution was not only unconstitutional but unscientific. In the final days of the case it appeared more and more apparent that the judge was less than impressed by the arguments of the defendants as they bumblingly tried to cover their motivation for injecting ID into the schools. But Jones? ruling really takes the whole ID hypothesis to task as a blatant and undeniable extensio

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Science speaks about cloning controversy

By | December 16, 2005

At a press conference today (December 16), Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy and deputy editor for life sciences Katrina Kelner presented their side of the story in the ongoing controversy over a cloning paper the journal published this year. Since the article, last author Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh has pulled out of a collaboration with his Korean co-authors, and first author Woo-suk Hwang admitted to both illegally obtaining eggs and tampering with images. Both Sch

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Intelligent Design on the Skids?

By | December 4, 2005

A piece in this morning's New York Times is reporting that, despite what you've been hearing, the Intelligent Design take on evolution "is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for." As my Mom used to say, "From their lips to God's ear."

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