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News

A Science Publishing Revolution
A Science Publishing Revolution
Scientists and publishers generally agree that the Internet is sparking a science publishing revolution.1 They have yet to agree, however, on how to cultivate that revolution without alienating one another. The latest effort to push the online publishing envelope has a sizable group of scientists threatening to boycott journals whose content is not freely available in a public database six months after publication. This call for a "public library of science" (PLOS) has already caused quite a sti
Online Health Management Gets a Start
Online Health Management Gets a Start
In southeastern Minnesota, the residents of little Winona are being besieged by messages from the future. On the radio and in newspapers, on billboards and handouts, the town's approximately 27,000 residents are being exhorted to join a pilot program that will put their individual health management information online. Going well beyond mere E-mail communication between physician and patient, the Winona Health Online1 project foreshadows a not-too-distant time when many Americans will have person
Converging on Marine Reserves
Converging on Marine Reserves
The commercial fishing and conservationist communities have clashed many times over how to protect fishery resources and conserve marine ecosystems while also supporting the economies dependent on the oceans. However, a new twist in the argument is the louder call from both sides for better scientific support for fishery management decisions. Fisheries management approaches often focus on single species protection by limiting the number of days fishermen can work, the types of fishing gear use
Founder Populations Fuel Gene Discovery
Founder Populations Fuel Gene Discovery
The field of human genetics has never been "politically correct." The first gene screens created in the 1970s, for sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease, targeted African American and Ashkenazi (eastern European) Jewish populations, respectively. This targeting made economic sense as these conditions are more prevalent within these populations. It isn't that genes discriminate, but that the human tendency to select mates like themselves tends to keep particular gene variants within certain g
News Notes
News Notes
A single all-embracing effort to characterize the human proteome is an unlikely prospect (D. Steinberg, "Is a Human Proteome Project Next?" The Scientist, 15[7]:1, April 2, 2001). Nevertheless, smaller-scale--though still massive--proteomics projects keep springing up. On April 4, Myriad Genetics Inc. (MGI), Hitachi Ltd., and Oracle Corp. announced a $185 million, three-year collaboration to identify all protein-protein interactions and biochemical pathways in the human body. Myriad Proteomics I

Letter

A Cutting Edge Reply
A Cutting Edge Reply
A recent article 1 emphasized the increasing obesity within the American population, and the author criticized the Food and Drug Administration for not allowing wider use of olestra to reduce fat/caloric intake. This article crystallizes what is wrong with much health-related research today. It is a classic example of looking for a 'magic bullet' approach to a serious problem rather than making the comprehensive lifestyle changes required. I have been conducting a text-mining study on the disc

Commentary

Mary's Little Lambs
Mary's Little Lambs
As foot and mouth disease raced across England and into Europe, shock waves spread well ahead and deep scars remained behind. The United Kingdom sagged under the weight of withering tourism, huge agricultural losses, and wholesale disruptions in the movement of people. Prime Minister Tony Blair called out the army and even postponed national elections. Air passengers arriving in Atlanta disinfected their shoes while cattlemen from Kentucky to Kansas wondered whether the plague would strike here

Research

Understanding Huntington's Disease
Understanding Huntington's Disease
Researchers are inching ever closer to a treatment for the inherited neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease (HD). Following close on the heels of recent optimistic reports on fetal cell implants1,2 comes a report from Johns Hopkins University that sheds light on a possible mechanism of neuronal destruction in HD.3 The work reveals possible new drug targets. Legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie's fight with HD brought the disease into the public eye in the 1960s. Today, some 30,000 peopl
Research Notes
Research Notes
A study of 2,480 AIDS patients has found that they have 2.4 times the risk of contracting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) if they carry a certain polymorphism. Charles S. Rabkin, HIV-cancer coordinator at the National Cancer Institute, presented this preliminary finding at last month's meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans. The polymorphism, a cytosine-for-guanine substitution in the interleukin-6 gene's promoter region, results in decreased plasma levels of IL-6. R
Antibiotic Corrects Genetic Glitch
Antibiotic Corrects Genetic Glitch
Antibiotics that enable ribosomes to "read through" premature stop codons (nonsense mutations), which truncate proteins, may kick-start a new approach to gene therapy. A team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and from the Women's and Children's Hospital in South Australia applied a long-ago observation about the antibiotic gentamicin on ribosomes to correct the enzyme deficiency that causes Hurler syndrome, in cultured fibroblasts from patients.1 The antibiotic apparent

Hot Paper

Piecing Together Actin Assembly
Piecing Together Actin Assembly
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Marc Kirschner, Carl W. Walter professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that Hot Papers are cited 50 to 100 times more often than the average paper of the same type and age. R. Rohatgi, L. Ma, H. Miki, M. Lopez, T. Kirchhausen, T. Takenawa, M.W. Kirschner, "The interaction between N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex links Cdc42-dependent signals to actin assembly," Cell, 97:221-31, April 16, 19
Estrogen Receptors on the Membrane
Estrogen Receptors on the Membrane
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Ellis R. Levin, chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center and vice chairman for research in the department of medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that Hot Papers are cited 50 to 100 times more often than the average paper of the same type and age. M. Razandi, A. Pedram, G.L. Greene, E.R. Levin, "Cell membrane and nuclear estrogen receptors (

Technology

Image is Everything
Image is Everything
From 2-D electrophoresis to microscopy, much of the data generated in today's laboratories is image-based. Until recently however, there was no way to efficiently search the contents of images and to correlate them with other types of data. To address this problem, two companies have developed systems that bring the full power of the informatics revolution to bear on visual data. According to Suzanne Mattingly, vice president of marketing at Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Scimagix, up to 70 perc

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Courtesy of Amersham Pharmacia BiotechThe Ready-To-Run separation unitUntil December 31, 2001, Amersham Pharmacia Biotech of Piscataway, N.J., is offering a free 24-reaction Ready-To-Go™ PCR beads kit with the purchase of a Ready-To-Run™ separation unit. The new Ready-To-Run separation unit is an agarose gel electrophoresis system for the rapid screening of PCR products. The system is expandable for higher- throughput applications. Ready-To-Go PCR beads are room-temperature stable be

Technology Profile

According to Protocol
According to Protocol
Nearly all scientists involved in basic biomedical research are familiar with the "Red Book" (Current Protocols in Molecular Biology)1 and Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual.2 These well-known, time-tested books are still considered "bibles" in research laboratories, containing a wide range of basic techniques used by most life scientists. However, as scientific studies and experimental designs become more intricate and specialized, so do the techniques involved. As a result, detailed, "spec
Premade cDNA Libraries
Premade cDNA Libraries
Suppliers of Whole-organism cDNA Libraries Suppliers of Tissue-specific cDNA Libraries The questions of gene function, interaction, and regulation are central to the science of molecular biology. Despite the myriad of new technologies, products, and techniques produced by the genomics revolution, some old standards remain just as useful as ever. One such technology is the cDNA (complementary DNA) library. The sheer number of companies offering premade and custom cDNA libraries and products th

Profession

Societies Offer More than Just Prestige
Societies Offer More than Just Prestige
Ask not what you can do for your professional society, but what your professional society can do for you. Douglas Sweet certainly took this sentiment to heart. Last year he signed up to use the online resume posting service and the placement service organized by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) at the Experimental Biology meeting. "The placement service was the best way for me to meet many potential employers, in my field and all in one place," says Sweet, an
Job Searching in a Still-Hot Market
Job Searching in a Still-Hot Market
Despite an overall slowdown in the economy, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are optimistic about the future and are investing heavily in research, particularly in the exploding fields of genomics, proteomics, and nanotechnology. Jobs in academia and government seem to be holding strong as well. Universities are investing in the sciences like never before and in government, the National Institutes of Health is poised to receive a record increase in funding. President George W. Bush's 2
Industry vs Academia
Industry vs Academia
To conduct this survey, The Scientist invited 1800 readers via E-mail to respond to a web-based survey form. There were a total of 220 responses from March 2 to 12, 2001, a response rate of 12.2%. Have you held research positions in both academia and industry? (Positions may include graduate research, industrial internships, or any other research positions - paid or unpaid - in both work environments).   Percent Count Answers 72.6% 159/219 Yes 27.4% 60/219 No
Working in Academia and Industry
Working in Academia and Industry
Life science researchers like working in industry for "career development opportunities" and "financial rewards"; they like working in academia for "creative freedom" and a "stronger learning environment." These are some of the conclusions from a recently conducted study of readers of The Scientist who have held research positions in both academia and industry. The survey gathered opinions and impressions from 159 life science researchers with such dual experience. Opinions on which environment
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Organizations are welcome to submit information for consideration for future listings by contacting bmaher@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences    
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
This past March, the nonprofit Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation presented grants to 30 young researchers as part of its Beckman Young Investigators (BYI) awards and its Beckman Scholars program for undergraduates. Now in its tenth year, the BYI program has thus far awarded over $30 million to 160 young researchers in the chemical and life sciences. This year, 16 investigators were given $240,000 over three years. The focus of recipients' research projects range from the study of carbohydrate

Opinion

Promoting Undergraduate Research in Science
Promoting Undergraduate Research in Science
Many students are interested in majoring in biology because they liked it in high school or because they have plans to attend medical school. But when majoring in science, discouragement can set in when faced with the daunting task of memorizing many facts, which are frequently forgotten once the course is over. Today's student often feels bored and/or intimidated by science. While classroom instruction pursues the goal of critical thinking, the actual performing of research is what requires co
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