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Here, kitty kitty

By Kerry Grens | March 20, 2007

I am waiting for a hypoallergenic cat. Not one to keep, but just one to prove all the skeptics wrong. In the January issue of the The Scientist I wrote an linkurl:article; about what scientists think of Allerca's hypoallergenic cats. The California company claims to have found and bred the world's first scientifically proven hypoallergenic cat, but most of the scientists I spoke with are dubious of its claims, not to mention the founder has a bi


Animals strike back at biologists

By Alison McCook | March 12, 2007

Last Wednesday in Alaska, a linkurl:moose charged and downed; a helicopter carrying a wildlife biologist. Neither the pilot nor the biologist were hurt during the attack, but the helicopter suffered damage to its tail rotor, forcing it to land. Sadly, the animal was put down due to its injuries (it got caught in the helicopter's blades). Late last month, a curator of herpetology linkurl:was bitten;


Giant collaborations reign (and Akira is HOT)

By Brendan Maher | March 9, 2007

A press release from linkurl:Thomson Scientific; lists 17 of the hottest researchers from 2005-2006 based on the number of Hot Papers published in that time. Hot Papers, as our readers know are papers, generally on the order of two years old, that have been cited much more than papers of a similar date and age (50 to 100 times as often according to Thomson). Immunologist Shizuo Akira of Osaka University tops the list with 7 publications in the specified time frame.


MRC head steps down

By Alison McCook | March 8, 2007

Medical Research Council chief Colin Blakemore is stepping down at a time when the UK agency is facing major reforms. linkurl:Blakemore; said that he decided to leave after his current term expires in September, but his decision has nothing to do with the MRC's linkurl:upcoming; changes -- which include the UK government's decision to reform medical research funding, creating an umbrella s


Statistically significant punk rockers

By Stephen Pincock | March 6, 2007

Who can argue with a punk rock anthem about the search for statistical certainty? Not me, at least. In fact, I couldn't help but smile this week when I came across a jaunty little tune called Increase the N by an outfit called Hefe from Vancouver. I first saw reference to the song (lyrics below) on linkurl:The World's Fair;, where they kindly offered a link to the group's linkurl:myspace; account. Apparently, they're a group broug


Need $20 million? Come to Alberta

By Alison McCook | February 28, 2007

The Canadian province of Alberta is linkurl:offering up; to three "superstar" biomedical researchers $20 million ($17 million US) each, distributed over 10 years, to move to Alberta and conduct research there. Half of the money comes from the funding agency Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), and the province's three universities (University of Calgary, University of Alberta, and University of Lethbridge) will pony up t


Another stem cell court victory

By Alison McCook | February 27, 2007

Even though California started linkurl:distributing stem cell funding; this month, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is still fighting for its survival in court. On Monday (February 26), a state appeals court upheld a linkurl:2006 verdict; verdict by a lower court judge, who said the organization was did not violate the constitution. But opponents of the California stem


In Oscar season, biology on film

By Ivan Oransky | February 26, 2007

When biologists at the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Bronx heard last fall that a beaver was making New York City home for the first time in 200 years, they were understandably excited. Unlike some other biologists, however -- say, those who said they had seen an linkurl:ivory-billed woodpecker; in 2005 -- the Bronx group made sure they caught Jose the beaver, on a video everyone could agree was actually a beaver, before linkurl:announcing it t


What agouti can tell us about diet

By Brendan Maher | February 26, 2007

We've linkurl:written in the past; about Randy Jirtle's agouti mice, which are a neat animal model for epigenetic change. Feed adult mothers a methyl-rich or genistein-rich diet, and DNA methylation lowers expression of the agouti gene in their offspring, shifting their coat color away from the classic agouti yellow and also protecting from obesity, which is associated with normal expression of the gene. Jirtle and colleagues have a new study


Calif. funds stem cell research -- really

By Alison McCook | February 19, 2007

If it was April, I'd say it was an April Fool's joke. But it's February, and it's true -- California is actually distributing funds for human embryonic stem cell research. The linkurl:California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM); on Friday (Feb 16) approved $45 million worth of grants to 20 academic and non-profit California institutions. The organization remains linkurl:tied up in never-ending;


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