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Stem cell ruling lamented, appealed

By | August 25, 2010

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins is "stunned" by the federal district judge's decision to deny federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, and the Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyYesterday (August 24), Collins lamented to reporters about the more than $50 million in grants that had to be denied their annual renewals. "This very unexpected development" has dire consequences f


Microbes work to mop up oil

By | August 24, 2010

Deep sea microbe populations are evolving in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, helping to digest the oil that continues to contaminate the Gulf of Mexico, according to a study published today (August 24) on the ScienceExpress website. Bacteria on an oil drop (magnified 100x)Image: © Science/AAASThe findings provide tantalizing clues that the ocean is evolving in a way that will help it heal from the massive spill, but it's still early days, said biogeochemist linkurl:John Farringt


Top 7 immunology papers

By | August 24, 2010

#1 T cell debate solved Mature T cells in the thymus are attracted to a molecule expressed by cells covering blood vessels, resolving a long standing puzzle of how cells escape into the body to fight infections. linkurl:(See our news story here.); M.A. Zachariah, J.G. Cyster, "Neural crest-derived pericytes promote egress of mature thymocytes at the corticomedullary junction," linkurl:__Science,__;

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Q&A: Why I delayed XMRV paper

By | August 23, 2010

After a weeks-long delay, a linkurl:paper; reporting a strong association between the retrovirus xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and chronic fatigue syndrome was published this week in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__ (PNAS). The study, carried out by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, found gene sequences pertaining to a closely relat


Video: Robocilia at work

By | August 23, 2010

Man-made cilia have shown that the real structures create complex flows of fluid that may contribute to normal development and tissue differentiation in early embryos, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reporting their linkurl:findings; in __PNAS__. The artificial cilia in action mimicking the beat of nodal cilia in the embryoCourtesy of Adam Shields, UNC PhD student linkurl:Richard Superfine,;http://w


Video: See fish grow

By | August 19, 2010

Combining various imaging techniques, an interdisciplinary team of scientists in Europe have developed a way to visualize and quantify early embryogenesis in zebrafish, according to a study published this week in Science. "We want to turn all the verbal descriptions of biology into something that's going to be quantitative and formal," said embryologist and coauthor Nadine Peyriéras of the linkurl:National Centre for Scientific Research; (CNRS) in France. "We've been larg

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NIH to study health after spill

By | August 18, 2010

The National Institutes of Health is planning a $10 million study to track the long-term health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Image: National Oceanographic andAtmospheric AdministrationIn a conference call with reporters, public health practitioners, and members of the Gulf Coast community, linkurl:Dale Sandler,; an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Scien


Eye popping from MTV to the lab

By | August 13, 2010

When linkurl:Song Zhang,; a mechanical engineer at Iowa State University, was approached by U2's people last spring asking if the band could use his novel 3D imaging technology for a concert performance, he immediately sent an email to his lab asking: "Does anyone know who U2 is and whether or not we should spend time on them?" Zhang had a similarly hard time two years ago deciding if collaborating with alt


Nanosensor peers inside cell

By | August 12, 2010

A new virus-sized probe can look deeper into cells than ever before, and finally allows scientists to monitor intracellular activities without disrupting the cells' external membranes, according to a study published today in Science. Nano-size transistor penetrates cell membraneImage: Charles Lieber "This is a paper that can bring breakthrough and revolutionary insight into our understanding of intracellular structures," said linkurl:Zhong Lin Wang,; wh

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Critical plant bank in danger

By | August 11, 2010

Plant scientists around the world are warning that hundreds of years of accumulated agricultural heritage are in danger of being plowed under after a Russian court ruled today (August 11) that the land occupied by a world-renowned plant bank on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg may be transferred to the linkurl:Russian Housing Development Foundation,; which plans to build houses on the site. Image: Isue via WikimediaThe fate of the collection at the linkurl:Pavlovsk Exp


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