The Nutshell

Daily News Roundup

Most Recent

Q&A: Biodiversity, distorted

By | June 1, 2010

There is growing concern about the loss of biodiversity worldwide, but scientists cannot measure how much an ecosystem has changed without good historical data. However, this data may be skewed, with certain time periods, species, or regions better represented than others. linkurl:Elizabeth Boakes,; an ecologist at Imperial College's Natural Environmental Research Council Centre for Population Biology in Berkshire, United Kingdom and her team looked f


The world cup of science fairs

By | May 28, 2010

Forget baking soda volcanoes and lima beans in paper towels. The fourteen high school students at the recent BIO International Convention in Chicago were more interested in how to differentiate stem cells into pancreatic endoderm, which factors inhibit cell proliferation in glioblastomas, and why an antioxidant has anti-angiogenic effects on epithelial ovarian cancer. "We enjoy it," smiles Raina Jain of Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the first-place winner of this year's linku


Q&A: Randomness reigns in ecology

By | May 27, 2010

The environment is not the only key factor in determining which species will populate a given habitat -- random, stochastic processes may also play a significant role, according to a study published online today (May 27) on the Science Express website. Study author linkurl:Jonathan Chase,; a community ecologist at Washington University in Saint Louis, talked with The Scientist about why randomness is so important to species composition,


10 retractions and counting

By | May 26, 2010

In an unusually large case of misconduct, an immunology lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has pulled 10 papers so far, with about five more expected, and cancelled a clinical trial after a senior research associate was found guilty of falsifying data. Image: Wikimedia commons"I was shocked when I initially got the letter from Dr. [Larry] Pease" -- linkurl:the head of the lab; -- "stating the decision to retract all these papers (appro


Senior Lancet editor sacked

By | May 26, 2010

Global health advocate Rhona MacDonald has been fired from her position as senior editor at __The Lancet__ for what she describes as a violation of the confidentiality policy held by the journal's publisher Elsevier. MacDonald, who had worked at __The Lancet__ for more than three years, said that she was disciplined for sending out a draft and a final version of an editorial she said she wrote about the future of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) -- which over


Oil spill is boon to bacteria

By | May 25, 2010

Last month's blowout of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil well -- which caused the US Commerce Department to decree today (25th May) that fisheries in three states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are official disasters -- is likely already impacting the Gulf's microscopic denizens, which will, in turn, have long-term effects on commercially important species such as fish and shrimp, scientists say. Image: National Oceanographic andAtmospheric AdministrationImages of oil-soaked sea gulls an


Data after death

By | May 24, 2010

It's usually not a situation scientists tend to think about -- until, tragically, they must. linkurl:Karen Strier,; a biological anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, previously gave no thoughts to what would happen to her data, equipment, funding, and lab personnel -- the graduate students, postdocs, and research technicians -- should she die. Then she lost a colleague and a student in short succession. Image: Wikimedia commo


Misconduct case drags on

By | May 24, 2010

A lengthy review of a University of Washington researcher's alleged transgressions leads to his termination.

1 Comment

News in a nutshell

By | May 24, 2010

DNA sequence affects mutation rateA new linkurl:report; published today in __Genome Research__ shows that the DNA molecule itself influences its own mutation rate. Specifically, Jean-Claude Walser and Anthony Furano from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Basel found that sequences high in C and G encourage mutations, and even encourage particular types of mutations. The findings suggest that mutation rat


1st Cell with Synthetic Genome

By | May 20, 2010

After a 15-year marathon, researchers have created the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome.


Popular Now

  1. How Plants Evolved Different Ways to Make Caffeine
  2. Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists
    The Nutshell Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists

    According to citation statistics, researchers behind programmed cell death pathways and CRISPR/Cas9 are among those in line for Nobel Prizes this year.

  3. Sequencing Reveals Genomic Diversity of the Human Brain
  4. Reviewing Results-Free Manuscripts
    The Nutshell Reviewing Results-Free Manuscripts

    An open-access journal is trialing a peer-review process in which reviewers do not have access to the results or discussion sections of submitted papers.