News

Market Emerges for Use of Human Drugs on Pets
Market Emerges for Use of Human Drugs on Pets
Pfizer's Anipryl is designed to treat dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. A new market is emerging for the use of human psychoactive drugs on pets with behavioral problems. The first two such medications to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, both of them for dogs, became available early this year. Novartis Animal Health of Greensboro, N.C., now markets clomipramine hydrochloride, a tricyclic antidepressant used for obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans, under the
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Differentiate in the Lab
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Differentiate in the Lab
While prominent scientists plead with legislators to reconsider their conservative stance on funding human embryonic stem (ES) cell research, a six-year-old company in Baltimore is quietly making the matter moot. In a just-released tour-de-force research report, it is no longer quite so quiet.1 Researchers at Osiris Therapeutics and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine coaxed human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) from adults' bone marrow to develop into cartilage, fat, and bone cells
Life Scientists as College Presidents: Unique Training for a Unique Role
Life Scientists as College Presidents: Unique Training for a Unique Role
As the role of college and university president increasingly becomes that of chief fundraiser, the trend is to fill the post with an individual whose administrative experience outweighs his or her academic credentials. Politicians and business leaders--people with an eye on sources of money, from legislatures or bottom-line savings--also fit the fundraising requirements. David Baltimore Despite this trend, a small number of people trained in the biological sciences have become college preside
Chloroplast Studies Point to Crop Enhancements
Chloroplast Studies Point to Crop Enhancements
With news about Dolly and embryonic stem cells the stuff of cocktail party conversation, cloning a transgenic sheep or cow seems like child's play. The recipe is simple: Insert a pet gene into the nucleus of a cultured cell, fuse it with an enucleated egg, and voilà--a cow with high-octane milk. But incorporating genes into nuclear chromosomes isn't the only road to fame and fortune. Animals and plants have other sources of genetic information--their respiratory mitochondria and photosy
Animal Studies Boost Gene Therapy Vector's Prospects
Animal Studies Boost Gene Therapy Vector's Prospects
During the advent of gene therapy, fixing single-gene disorders seemed the most obvious application. But early vectors failed to transfect enough targeted cells long enough to have more than a transient effect. Recent animal studies using adeno-associated virus (AAV) may provide renewed hope for treating single-gene disorders. Two groups recently took advantage of AAV's ability to infect nondividing muscle cells--something that most other vectors cannot provide.1 And both used clever techniques
Another Asilomar? Preliminary Plans Under Way
Another Asilomar? Preliminary Plans Under Way
When Herbert Boyer of the University of California and Stanley Cohen of Stanford University found a way to recombine DNA molecules in test tubes using restriction enzymes,1 they crossed the ultimate milestone in genetic engineering in the early 1970s. They also set the stage for a firestorm of controversy. Scientists and nonscientists feared that the new technology could be used to create hazardous biological materials. Could, for example, pathogenic genes cloned into E.coli plasmids transform
Research Suspended at Los Angeles VA Center
Research Suspended at Los Angeles VA Center
Anger, uncertainty, and confusion followed in the wake of the unprecedented suspension of research March 26 at the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Health Care System (VAGLAHS), the largest center of its kind in the country. "Everything has come to a screeching halt," said VAGLAHS spokeswoman Marianne Davis, who estimated some 1,200 protocols and hundreds of researchers were stopped in their tracks. The order--which applies to the five Los Angeles-area facilities and seven outpatien

Letter

No Time for Evolutionary Theory
No Time for Evolutionary Theory
Albert Anderson says "the presence of numerous sauropod eggshells in Patagonia is certainly evidence that sauropods existed but not necessarily that they evolved,"1,2 while Gina Kolata in The New York Times quips that "evolutionary biology can be long on theory and short on evidence."3 The blame for this sorry state of evolutionary understanding lies at the feet of scientists and educators who just have not done their homework. In 1886 Charles Darwin's research associate George Romanes showed
Reexamining LTP
Reexamining LTP
We were pleased to see your journal prominently address the question of whether long-term potentiation (LTP) is the substrate for memory formation.1 The dogma that the first equals the second has for too long dominated the field in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary (summarized in our review2 and later by other authors). In counterpoint to the failure to provide a strong linkage between LTP and learning/memory, we note in our review that there is an equally compelling correlation betwe

Commentary

Asilomar2: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Asilomar2: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Several announcements on biotechnology research have made the front pages of the country's major newspapers over the past few months. Stories have ranged from gene therapy on a fetus, to the highly competitive race to crack the human gene code, to an attempt to transfer genes from the egg of an infertile woman into the egg of another woman in the hopes of achieving a viable pregnancy. As with the announcement two years ago of the cloning of an adult ewe in Scotland, these reports cause feelings

Opinion

Science by Consensus: Why the NIH Grant Review System Must Be Changed
Science by Consensus: Why the NIH Grant Review System Must Be Changed
One of the foremost concerns of biomedical scientists in the United States is the difficulty in obtaining grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH grant review system has now become like the weather: Everybody talks about it, but nobody seems to be able to do anything about it. A disturbing example of the shortcomings of NIH review panels was provided by John McGowan, the director of extramural research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He courag

Research

Beyond Inflammation: Blocking COX-2 May Provide Therapy for Multiple Diseases
Beyond Inflammation: Blocking COX-2 May Provide Therapy for Multiple Diseases
UPSTREAM, DOWNSTREAM: Biochemical activity upstream of cyclooxygenase is better understood than reactions downstream of the enzyme. Cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke represent disparate destinations. But the pathogenic road leading to each passes through one enzyme: cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Because of that biochemical junction, a class of compounds called COX-2 inhibitors, originally designed as anti-inflammatory agents against arthritis, may have broader utility. The relationship betwe

Hot Paper

Cell Biology
Cell Biology
Edited by: Eugene Russo and Steve Bunk J. Behrens, J.P. von Kries, M. Kühl, L. Bruhn, D. Wedlich, R. Grosschedl, W. Birchmeier, "Functional interaction of ß-catenin with the transcription factor LEF-1," Nature, 382:638-42, 1996. (Cited in more than 285 papers since publication) Comments by Walter Birchmeier, professor of cell biology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany In the tiny world of signaling pathways that carry biochemical reactions, the pathwa
Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics
Edited by: Eugene Russo and Steve Bunk S.F. Altschul, T.L. Madden, A.A. Schäffer, J.H. Zhang, Z. Zhang, W. Miller, D.J. Lipman, "Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs," Nucleic Acids Research, 25:3389-3402, 1997. (Cited in more than 500 papers since publication) David Lipman, Stephen Altschul, Alejandro Schäffer, and Tom Madden Comments by Stephen Altschul, senior investigator, National Center for Biotechnology Research, Bethesda, Md. Tool

Profession

'Bioethicists' Proliferate Despite Undefined Career Track
'Bioethicists' Proliferate Despite Undefined Career Track
Bioethics is "definitely a growth industry," says Norman Fost. So you want to be a bioethicist. Join the rather crowded, ever-growing club. Bioethics centers and programs continue to proliferate as doctors, lawyers, and persons of every conceivable background remain intrigued by issues ranging from human cloning to managed health care. As Arthur Caplan, the director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, puts it, bioethics has moved from "infancy into adolescence." Th

Technology

Exacting Extractions
Exacting Extractions
"Innovation is our mission," states Rockford, Ill.-based Pierce Chemical Company's Rick Chu. True to those words, Chu has applied Pierce's expertise in detergent chemistry to the development of a family of protein extraction reagents designed to rapidly and efficiently extract proteins from bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cell lines. Cell lysis, of course, is an important first step in recovering recombinant proteins or for providing samples for various assays. The new Pierce protein extraction
Go with the Flow
Go with the Flow
improve sensitivity fivefold Schematic image of ThermoQuest's UV6000LP Photodiode Array Detector Date: April 12, 1999 (This is a slightly revised version of the article which appeared in the print edition of The Scientist) The LightPipe Flowcell from ThermoQuest is one of the critical components of the company's new UV6000LP Photodiode Array Detector. The flowcell resolves a longstanding problem in optoelectric devices: When the pathlength of a conventional flowcell is increased, both
FLIPRS Propel Labs Along
FLIPRS Propel Labs Along
Molecular Devices' FLIPR384 System The accelerating pace of drug discovery has spawned an increasing need for functional assays using living cells. Automating these assays for high-throughput systems, however, has proven to be difficult. Noting that the most common biological assays employed in high-throughput settings rely on some kind of fluorescent measurement, Molecular Devices Corporation of Sunnyvale, Calif., has developed an automated solution for functional whole-cell screening. Launc

Technology Profile

Sequence or Die: Automated Instrumentation for the Genome Era
Sequence or Die: Automated Instrumentation for the Genome Era
Date: April 12, 1999Table of DNA Sequencers LI-COR's IR2 Automated DNA Sequencer The first time I ran a sequencing gel using 35S rather than 32P, I was in heaven. The bands on the autoradiogram were incredibly sharp, the background was amazingly clean, and my read length increased by close to 20% to just over 100 bases. Things just couldn't get any better than that! In 1994, The Scientist reviewed the state of DNA sequencing technology and made some predictions about what might be coming next
The Two Body Problem
The Two Body Problem
Two-Hybrid Systems Studying a biological phenomenon? Which field? Well, it really doesn't matter. Whatever the area of interest, rest assured that protein-protein interactions are somehow, somewhere involved--if not directly, then as part of a structural or regulatory apparatus. Two-hybrid systems, pioneered by Fields and Song,1 are powerful systems for detecting interactions between and among macromolecules. The first systems described were for protein-protein interactions; later, the basic

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Peanuts may be losing their bite PEANUT ALLERGY VACCINE Peanuts are more than just an annoyance on airplanes--for a few dozen people each year, they cause deadly anaphylactic shock. The only protection is knowledge of one's allergy and avoidance of the offending food. But most peanut-associated allergic deaths occur from peanut extracts added to prepared foods--additives that sometimes remain unlisted on labels. A peanut allergy vaccine could prevent such deaths. Kam Leong, a professor of biom