December 2004

Volume 18 Issue 23

The Scientist December 2004 Cover



Science Through Storytelling

Tell me a story.


When Hypotheses Dominate

Scientific experimentation is based on examining falsifiable hypotheses, and not simply using relatively meaningless experiments to prop up thedogma du jour.


On Downsizing the Status of Science

There are two quite distinct contributors to the "disagreements over status of scientific evidence"

NIH Conflicts of Interest

I do not know what all the fuss is about over conflicts of interest and the ethics of NIH scientists consulting with biotech companies.


The buzz about cheapdate

Fly people have a notoriously off-putting way about naming genes.

Smallpox WHO?

Last month the World Health Organization's external committee on smallpox recommended that the two scientific teams possessing smallpox virus be allowed to insert a green fluorescent marker gene into the virus to test the efficacy of potential antismallpox drugs.

A new flavor of genomics

The European public's dislike for genetically modified foods shows no sign of waning, but Denmark's ingredient firms aren't letting a little thing like overwhelming public distrust stop them.


The Life Science Industry Awards

In terms of innovation, the life science industry has few peers.


Brain Imaging Struggles for Psychiatric Respect

Psychiatrists can draw upon long clinical experience with adult patients to surmise why antidepressant medications foster suicidal thoughts and behavior in some children, as the US Food and Drug Administration warned this fall.

Sir2: Scrambling for Answers

Low-calorie diets extend lifespan in almost every model tested, but scientists can't yet agree on what controls this phenomenon.

Hot Paper

Shocking Disparities in Voltage-Dependent Channels

The ion channel field has been a bit charged up lately, thanks largely to an impressive series of crystalline structures published by Rod MacKinnon's group at Rockefeller University.


Conversations in Genetics

As formal and methodological as it sometimes appears, science remains at its heart a process of storytelling.


Kicking the habit with RNAi

RNA interference can turn off morphine production in poppies, according to a group from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Plant Industry in Canberra, Australia.

Triassic reptiles had live young

The largest and most diverse group of Triassic aquatic reptiles gave birth to live young, researchers recently reported.

Interdisciplinary Research

These papers were selected from multiple disciplines from the Faculty of 1000, a Web-based literature awareness tool Allen et al., "The SINE-encoded mouse B2 RNA represses mRNA transcription in response to heat shock," Nat Struct Mol Biol, 11:816–21, September 2004.A small, noncoding RNA, called B2, is expressed during heat shock and represses transcription from RNA polymerase II. Interestingly, B2 RNA is transcribed from a DNA region previously thought to


Ten Technologies in Five Years

When scientists make long-term research plans, they must try to anticipate how emerging technologies will influence their work in the coming years.

O Come, All Ye Scientists

Scientists from Manhattan to Pasadena, Moscow to Johannesburg, responded to The Scientist's question, "What gift do you most want this holiday season, and why?" Answers included the practical (sliceable gel blocks), the whimsical (a Star Trek tricorder), and meteorological (another El Niño). But what they all had in common was the desire for that most intangible and elusive of gifts: hastened progress in the researchers' respective fields.TREKKIAN DELIGHTFor upcoming missions to Mars and Eu

Tools and Technology

Presents for Profs, 2004

Give your prof a dose of cheer this holiday season with this little USB-powered Christmas tree.

The Trouble with Membranes

Membrane proteins comprise the majority of drug targets.

More Data, Less Damage

newly released confocal microscope, the Eclipse C1-Plus, sports a range of new features, including new adjustable lasers, according to Jeff Larson, Nikon's US product manager for confocal microscopes.

Tools and Technology

Squeezing Out More Gene-Expression Data

In the world of gene-expression profiling, microarrays reign, but they are not without drawbacks.


Tapping a Stem Cell Goldmine

Embryonic stem cell research is proceeding apace in many nations but continues to face political and economic hurdles in the United States, despite California voters' approval of a $3 billion war chest for stem cell research conducted in that state.

Choosing A Company Logo

For big companies with a lot at stake, logo design and development is big business.

High-Priced Biotech Drugs: Are They Worth It?

4,000 for a course of treatment.


Navigating Nanotechnology Patent Thickets

The entire patent system is a delicate balancing act.


EU to Researchers: Have Grant Money, Can Travel

Research bodies in 10 European countries will allow scientists to take grant money with them when they move between their nations, according to a letter of intent announced in November by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Greenpeace in Germany Challenges a Stem Cell Patent

The German arm of the environmental lobby group Greenpeace is disputing a patent on the grounds that it allows the commercial exploitation of human stem cells.


Focus on Seattle

As the largest city in the northwest United States, Seattle is probably known less for biotech than it is for aerospace (Boeing), software (Microsoft in nearby Redmond), coffee (Starbucks), and online retail (

Reverse Transcript

Seeking Accurate Traffic Reports

On the desk in Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz's office sits a small box labeled "Mr. Wizard's Golgi Model Kit."

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