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New sugar protein tool - for real

By | February 28, 2010

Scientists have devised a new way to make sugar-linked proteins, an important step towards understanding a key type of protein modification and refining drug therapies that utilize the so-called glycoproteins -- as well as the subject of two high-profile papers that were recently retracted. Image: Wikimedia commons, S. Jähnichen"It's a pretty important thing that they've done," said synthetic biologist linkurl:Jason Chin;http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/group-leaders/a-to-g/j-chin of the Med

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Physician-scientists: vanishing?

By | February 26, 2010

Biomedical research needs practicing physicians -- understanding the issues that arise in the clinic is arguably one of the best ways to inform the work done in the lab. But recently, there is evidence to suggest the numbers of physician-scientists -- MDs who dedicate a significant amount of their time to medical research -- may be dwindling, argues researcher and hematologist linkurl:Andrew Schafer;http://www.med.cornell.edu/research/aischafer/biography.html of Weill Cornell Medical College and

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Radical journal gathers support

By | February 26, 2010

The scientific community appears to be fighting to convince Elsevier to continue to publish its only non-peer-reviewed journal, after the publisher began to linkurl:consider installing a traditional peer review system;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57121/ when the journal published a controversial paper supporting the arguments of AIDS deniers. Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/ Despite the uproar that article created, the editor-in-chief of lin

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New neurons rewire mouse brain

By | February 25, 2010

Embryonic neurons transplanted into mice can induce a period of flexibility in a relatively rigid older brain, suggesting a possible mechanism to repair damaged brain circuits, according a study published this week in Science. Inhibitory neurons transplantedfrom the embryonic braininto the postnatal brain Image: Derek Southwell"It's terrific," said neuroscientist linkurl:Takao Hensch;http://golgi.harvard.edu/Faculty/faculty_profile.php?f=takao-hensch of Harvard University, who was not involved

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Bacteria drive electric mud?

By | February 24, 2010

Underwater mud can conduct electricity, possibly with the help of bacteria in the sediment -- a result that helps explain the large amount of electrical activity researchers have detected in ocean sediments, a linkurl:study published;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7284/full/nature08790.html in this week's in __Nature__ reports. The finding could change how researchers think about microbes' contributions to geochemical processes. Grey, orange and white layers of mud from the Bay

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Regulatory science gets boost

By | February 24, 2010

The linkurl:National Institutes of Health;http://www.nih.gov/ (NIH) and the linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration;http://www.fda.gov/ (FDA) linkurl:announced a new collaboration;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm201706.htm this morning (Feb 24) that will support efforts in translational and regulatory science, including a contribution of $6.75 million in regulatory research grants over the next three years. Image: Wikimedia commonsSince Margaret Hamburg took the rei

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NIH reviewers praise new rules

By | February 23, 2010

While the transition to the new shortened grant applications at the linkurl:National Institutes of Health;http://www.nih.gov/ (NIH) and the corresponding review guidelines hasn't been completely smooth, reviewers who have participated in the first few rounds of funding under the new system generally support the changes. Image: Wikimedia commons"I think it's an improvement over the old system," said linkurl:Karin Rodland,;http://www.pnl.gov/biology/staff/staff_info.asp?staff_num=5747 a researche

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British bacteriologist dies

By | February 22, 2010

Patricia Clarke, a distinguished British biochemist who deepened the field's understanding of bacterial evolution and was a role model for women in science, died last month at 90 years of age. Pseudomonas aeruginosaImage: Wikimedia Commons, CDC/Janice Haney Carr "She had always been determined to get into academia," said Barbara Banks, a physiological chemist and a former colleague at the University College London. "She was a student at Cambridge - before the days when they gave degrees to wome

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News in a nutshell

By | February 22, 2010

NIH tweaks stem cell rulesThe US National Institutes of Health on Friday (Feb 19) proposed a change to its definition of a human embryonic stem cell. Presently, stem cell lines are defined as being derived from a blastocyst-stage embryo. The proposed revision would amend that wording to "up to and including the blastocyst stage." The policy, published in the linkurl:Federal Register,;http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-03527_PI.pdf is open for public comment. The issue was rais

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Shuffling genes without sex

By | February 22, 2010

Researchers have discovered one way that asexually reproducing organisms maintain variation in their DNA. Female whiptail lizards can actually double their own chromosomes during meiosis, according to a study published online today in Nature. A checkered whiptail lizard Image: Peter Baumann "It's a great piece of work," said linkurl:Charles Cole,;http://www.amnh.org/science/divisions/vertzoo/bio.php?scientist=cole a herpetologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York who was

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