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DNA barcoding in Taipei, Part 4

By | September 21, 2007

The plant barcoding group meeting here at the end of the 2nd International Barcode of Life Conference in Taipei was as addled with confusion and obfuscation as I had heard it might be. In supreme contrast to animal barcoding working groups (like linkurl:FishBOL),;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53591/ that are humming along identifying species and thinking about how to attract funding agencies and end users, the plant working group seems to be straining under the linkurl:complexity;htt

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Biosafety concerns at U of Wisconsin Ebola lab

By | September 20, 2007

A University of Wisconsin researcher working with the Ebola virus operated his lab under lower biosafety standards than are required for working with the deadly pathogen, according to the Sunshine Project, an Austin-based biosafety watchdog group. A linkurl:press release;http://www.sunshine-project.org/publications/pr/pr190907.html posted on the group's Web site and an linkurl:AP report;http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local//index.php?ntid=246861 filed late last night state that the lab, headed

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NIH stem cell news - or is it?

By | September 20, 2007

An interesting news release from the NIH landed in my inbox Tuesday (September 18). The headline said the agency "Announces Plan to Implement President's linkurl:Stem Cell;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/36654/ Executive Order." I know, I know -- the linkurl:executive order;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53059/ came six years ago. But apparently, now the agency is taking new steps -- for instance, asking for grant applications to study non-embryonic sources of

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DNA barcoding in Taipei, Part 3

By | September 19, 2007

Played a rousing game of linkurl:table tennis;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxZ-5wELSJM tonight. And by "rousing game" I mean to say that I was soundly drubbed by a Taiwanese gentleman (his name escapes me) who appears to be some sort of national champion. Even my scorching serves were parried with effortless flicks of his supple wrist. Though my game may have been tough, it was nothing compared to the game that linkurl:plant molecular biologists;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22

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Texas universities bombing biosafety?

By | September 19, 2007

Recent biosafety breaches have occurred at three University of Texas schools, the Chronicle of Higher Education linkurl:reports;http://chronicle.com/news/article/3051/bio-mishaps-hit-2-more-university-labs-in-texas) . At UT Austin, officials failed to report 10 out of 13 incidents that took place over the last seven years. Incidents at the other two schools both took place in April: Workers at the UT Health Sciences Center in Houston were exposed to anthrax, and at UT San Antonio to tularemia. (

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DNA barcoding in Taipei, Part 2

By | September 18, 2007

I spent Monday listening to ichthyologists and fisheries biologists discuss their efforts to barcode the planet?s fish species (an initiative called the Fish barcode of life, or linkurl:FishBOL);http://www.fishbol.org/ . During the FishBOL session, researchers discussed the issue of seafood consumer fraud, where linkurl:puffer fish;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/19997/ might be linkurl:mislabeled as monk fish;http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01639.html or some lesser fish

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Re-analysis raises ghosts in neuroscience

By | September 18, 2007

A news story in this week's Nature linkurl:reports;http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070910/full/449124b.html on problems with research that in the last quarter-century has spawned a controversial but influential theory in neurophysiology. According to the theory, neurotransmitter is released at the linkurl:synapse;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15002/ in discrete vesicles, each containing approximately equal amounts of neurotransmitter, and with each synaptic bouton releasing just

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Calif. stem cell institute appoints president

By | September 17, 2007

After a linkurl:contentious;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/53480/ search, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine on Friday named Australian stem cell research Alan Trounson as the new president of the institute. Trounson, director of the immunology and stem cell laboratories at Monash University, is a long-time expert in IVF and stem cell research and founder of the Australian Stem Cell Center. He has also started a handful of companies to commercialize stem cell research (a

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DNA barcoding in Taipei, Part 1

By | September 17, 2007

Spent the night talking human disease vectors with Daniel Boakye, a Ghanaian biologist (I call him a mosquito man). I'm in Taipei, Taiwan attending the 2nd International Barcode of Life Conference. What initially attracted me to the concept of linkurl:barcoding;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22424/ is the sheer magnitude of taxonomic ignorance under which all biologists operate. Science has identified only about 1.8 million of the estimated 10 million species of plant, animal, fun

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2007 Lasker Awards announced

By | September 14, 2007

Discovery of dendritic cells, invention of prosthetic heart valves and programs in AIDS treatment and biodefense are honored linkurl:Ralph Steinman;http://www.rockefeller.edu/research/abstract.php?id=150 of the Rockefeller University in New York will receive the 2007 Albert Lasker Award for Outstanding Basic Medical Research for his discovery of dendritic cells and his work in elucidating their function as sentinels of the immune system, the linkurl:Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation;http://www

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