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New FASEB head takes office

By | July 8, 2009

linkurl:Mark Lively,;http://www1.wfubmc.edu/biochem/Faculty/Lively.htm who took office as the 94th president of the linkurl:Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB);http://www.faseb.org/ last week (July 1), plans to focus the group's policy efforts on issues such as animal use in research, rules for conflicts of interest, and biosecurity regulations relating to the use of select agents, FASEB said in a statement. Image: Wake Forest University School of Medicine"I think

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Animal use details to go online

By | July 6, 2009

The linkurl:United States Department of Agriculture (USDA);http://www.usda.gov/ must post annual reports from animal research facilities that document the levels of pain and distress experienced by animals in experimental procedures, according to a court settlement last week (July 1) of a lawsuit between the USDA and linkurl:The Humane Society of the United States.;http://www.hsus.org/ Image: Wikimedia commons"We have been taking a variety of steps to increase transparency on a number of issue

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NIH loosens stem cell consent rules

By | July 6, 2009

Final rules for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research, announced this afternoon (July 6) by the National Institutes of Health, require strict documentation detailing voluntary donation of embryos leftover from in-vitro fertilization procedures, but they also contain a mechanism for approving individual cell lines that don't meet the letter of the law but still adhere to the spirit of informed consent. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia/PLoSThe draft guidelines proposed in April expli

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Spores spill evolution's secrets

By | July 6, 2009

Developmental "noise" -- the imprecision in molecular pathways that leads to minor slip-ups in development -- creates fodder for evolution. That's the conclusion of a linkurl:paper;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature08150.html published online yesterday (July 5) in __Nature__, which shows that a single mutation in bacterial spore formation that affects individuals in different ways generates morphological diversity that can then be genetically fine-tuned to maximize an

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Limbs regrow without pluripotency

By | July 1, 2009

The cells responsible for the salamander's famed ability to regenerate amputated limbs aren't pluripotent, as scientists have thought, a linkurl:study published online in Nature;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7251/abs/nature08152.html today reports. That's good news for regenerative medicine: If the mechanism salamander cells use for regrowing body parts doesn't depend on pluripotent stem cells, it may be easier than researchers have assumed to mimic that organism's regenerative stra

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New tool for grant seekers

By | July 1, 2009

Elsevier is launching a new grant searching tool called SciVal Funding, which allows researchers to collate grant information that is otherwise dispersed in many locations across the Web. The computer program plugs researchers into the usual government, corporate and non-corporate funding sources, but it also helps them find collaborators and scan for projects that received awards in the past to hone their applications and searches. linkurl:SciVal Funding;http://www.info.funding.scival.com/ al

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Union busting at NIEHS?

By | July 1, 2009

Union organizers at a federal science agency have failed in their efforts to unionize researchers and technicians there, prompting allegations of suppression and union busting. In a mid-May ballot, scientists and technicians at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, voted against establishing a union. According to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), there were 70 votes against forming the union and 43 for it. The numb

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New non-drug fix for HIV?

By | June 30, 2009

Researchers are slowly establishing a connection between an extremely rare genetic disease and HIV -- and homing in on a safe, non-prescription compound that could treat both. Recently, linkurl:James Hildreth;http://www.mmc.edu/faculty/som-jhildreth.html at the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., and his colleagues found that cells affected by Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), which disrupts cholesterol trafficking, were unable to release HIV, suggesting these cells would

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A taskmaster transcription factor

By | June 29, 2009

A scattered array of DNA acquired via horizontal transfer can co-evolve into a well-tuned, efficient genetic network to maximize an organism's fitness, a new linkurl:study;http://www.nature.com/msb/journal/v5/n1/full/msb200940.html finds. Reporting online earlier this month in __Molecular Systems Biology__, researchers showed that a single transcription factor in a tiny, salt-loving archaeon coordinates the expression of more than 100 newly-obtained genes. Halobacterium salinarumImage: Wikimedi

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Down to the bone

By | June 29, 2009

A fusion protein that ferries a healthy version of a bone-related enzyme gone awry has shown early clinical success in treating a rare bone disorder with no known therapy, researchers reported earlier this month at the Endocrine Society's linkurl:annual meeting;http://www.endo-society.org/endo/ in Washington, DC. The drug -- which is essentially a protein-based enzyme delivery mechanism -- could open the door to treatments of other skeletal disorders that have so far been deemed untreatable. Ra

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