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Find out what your candidates think of research

By | September 18, 2006

Research!America today launched the linkurl:2006 Your Candidates ? Your Health Voter Guide; -- a site designed to help voters figure out how the candidates seeking their support feel about scientific research. The group sent 10 questions on subjects such as the CDC budget and basic science funding to all House and Senate candidates. To find out how they responded, plug in your zip code. This is an important and timely effort, with the US midterm elections


Laskers reward telomerase work

By | September 16, 2006

Announced today: The linkurl:2006 Lasker Award; for Basic Medical Research is shared by Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, Carol Greider at Johns Hopkins University, and Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School for their research on telomerase, the enzyme responsible for maintaining the length of linear chromosomes. In addition, Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution is being honored for his lifetime of discovery and innovation as


MAQC Unveils Microarray Magnum Opus

By | September 12, 2006

The microarray research community and industry got a big boost last week with the release by the linkurl:Microarray Quality Control (MAQC) Project; Consortium, of a massive collection of data attesting to the reproducibility and reliability of microarray-based gene-expression profiling. Attempting to lay to rest, once and for all, the question of linkurl:microarray data reliability and reproducibility;

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Who's up for top WHO job?

By | September 7, 2006

The field candidates for the top job at the World Health Organization is dominated by a list of current and former WHO insiders, it emerged on Wednesday. Of the 13 nominees to fill the post of director general that was linkurl:left vacant; earlier this year by the death of Lee Jong-Wook, four currently hold senior WHO posts and three have former connections to the agency. Lee?s unexpected passing in May forced the WHO to put in place an accelera


A scientist hits the streets

By | September 5, 2006

The photo shoot for this month?s linkurl:feature on the postdoc glut; was obviously a spoof. At least that?s what we thought. Standing on the median of Broad street with a sign that says ?Have PhD, Will Work For Food,? Kevin Duffy expected to garner a few stares, but not much else. ?Some guy gave me his business card,? he told me. Someone walking on the set of the shoot asked what they were doing. Even though Kevin told them they were working on an


Nature press on errors

By | August 30, 2006

After issuing linkurl:two post-press corrections; to the release notes for a headline grabbing linkurl:news story about human embryonic stem cells; last week, Ruth Francis, __Nature__?s senior press officer said she got a lot of calls and emails from editors and journalists. They issued the second correction Friday night about 9pm Francis? time, just before a three day weekend which was bound to rais


The Embryo Corrections

By | August 25, 2006

When Robert Lanza?s group at Advanced Cell Technology reported linkurl:this week; creating so-called ethically clean ES cell lines (establishing colonies from an early human embryo without destroying it) they didn?t make clear whether they had actually accomplished this feat. This work might have potential, but the numbers speak to a logical smoke and mirror show. Using 16 blastomeres (embryos in the 8-to-10-cell stage), Lanza?s group extracted 9


Decoding the code code

By | August 21, 2006

A few weeks ago linkurl:I chided Nick Wade; (lovingly! I?m a huge fan, after all) for invoking the ?code? word when describing a study on nucleosome positioning. It surprised me when my post spurred some comments on the nature of the __Nature__ press office, and their proclivity for hyping, but ?not overhyping,? the research papers within. Wade can be forgiven. I didn?t realize how pervasive the word code had been in __Nature__ until I saw the di

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Government lab unites science journalists

By | August 16, 2006

Earlier this week, I and several other editorial staffers here at __The Scientist__ started receiving Emails titled ?User Quarantine Release Notification? from an ? address, presumably from the Idaho National Laboratory. Nothing terribly unusual about such spam, which requested that we click on a link to view a list of all of our quarantined messages. Someone had been attacked by a virus. What happened after that, however, was more unusual: __The New York Times?__ George Johnson respo

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Cloning in Iran

By | August 11, 2006

Iranian biosciences aren?t exactly top of the news agenda these days, so I was interested to linkurl:read;,,1839217,00.html this week that researchers at Tehran?s linkurl:Royan Institute; have "succeeded" in producing what is apparently the Middle East's first cloned sheep. The sheep died minutes after it was delivered at the institute, which specializes in fertility issues (Royan meaning Embryo in


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