Editorial

The Right Way and Wrong Way to Lead
The Right Way and Wrong Way to Lead
Think for a minute about those who run your workplace. However large or small the outfit, leaders have a powerful impact on the performance and perception of the organization. For instance, how they interact with those who directly report to them has, for better or worse, a trickle-down effect on how all staff members are treated; their perceived openness, fairness, and ethical standards impinge on the entire culture of the organization. Moreover, in some workplaces, their conduct under public s

Opinion

Handling Human Samples Is Worth the Risk
Handling Human Samples Is Worth the Risk
Brad FitzpatrickJust recently, our university's Biosafety Committee told the faculty that we must discontinue certain laboratory exercises. The long list includes human blood, blood products, body fluids (cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, pericardial, peritoneal, and amniotic fluids, saliva, and urine), contaminated needles, pathological wastes, microbiological wastes, and unfixed human tissues and organs.We think that this decision, based on safety reasons that we can appreciate, is wrong. To q

Letter

Aquariums Aglow
Aquariums Aglow
Re: red glofish,1 first, when are blue, cyan, green, and yellow fluorescent Danio going to be available commercially? Skeletal muscle expression of green and yellow fluorescent proteins were published in the same paper as the red fish.2 Second, did the genetic engineers who made the glofish talk to marketers? Once a breeding pair of zebrafish has been sold, the only items left to sell are food, lights, filters, and cleaning products. Selling firefly and/or Renilla luciferase-expressing fish woul
Time and Nanotech
Time and Nanotech
Almost everything in Chris MacDonald's essay1 is right. Near-term nanoscale technologies can and should be addressed with the same ethical tools appropriate for other technologies, and should not be confused with longer-term molecular manufacturing.However, this does not mean that molecular manufacturing should be ignored. Although some prominent nanoscale technologists deny it, other scientists think it is workable and point to a growing body of scientific literature. Many are unsure, which is
Science and the Single Mom
Science and the Single Mom
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on Dr. King.1 As a woman, I feel so proud that she could achieve this height in science, although I feel sad that she had to end up as a single mother. I [hope that] today's generation does not have to do this. I am a scientist but have made a choice of taking a break in my scientific career, and now I am trying to get back into it. It has not been an easy ride.Vandana ParikhMumbai, India drsparikh@yahoo.com
A Bibliophile is Born
A Bibliophile is Born
I was delighted to hear that Stephanie Mohr has discovered the library.1 No reading on a screen can compare to the sensuous joy of holding in one's hands a book, with its distinctive smell, and the signs of previous readers. If Stephanie continues on her voyage of discovery through natural history books, she may learn that pterodactyls (now correctly known as pterosaurs) are not winged dinosaurs, but that these remarkable flying creatures belong to a related but separate group.Elva RobinsonAnima

Snapshot

Hazmats in the Lab
Hazmats in the Lab
Should undergraduates be taught to handle these potentially hazardous materials?- Alexander Grimwade

5-Prime

Digging through the Data
Digging through the Data
1. Which databases get a lot of traffic?The three largest International DNA databases are the European Bioinformatics Institute's (EBI) EMBL, the US National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI) GenBank, and the DNA Data Bank of Japan. They rank at the top of the list for traffic, followed by the EBI's Swiss Prot, a protein sequence database, and EnsEMBL, EBI's annotated metazoan genome browser. Filling out the toolbox are the model organism databases (MODs), including WormBase and FlyB

Frontlines

Mother Love and the Brain
Mother Love and the Brain
If you're looking for the source of mother love, you might consider the orbitofrontal cortex. A new study1 finds that this part of the brain, just above the eyes, is active when new mothers view pictures of infants; the activity increases, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging, when the women see pictures of their newborns. "This is evidence that positive emotional aspects of maternal attachment are reliably associated with this region of the brain," says lead author Jack Nitschke
Bone Loss Still a Problem for Astronauts
Bone Loss Still a Problem for Astronauts
While President George W. Bush waxes enthusiastically about astronauts further exploring space, the reality is that a major obstacle to an astronaut's health remains: bone loss in zero gravity.Despite an exercise program designed to counter bone loss, astronauts on the International Space Station showed as much degradation as did their counterparts one decade ago on the Soviet space station Mir,1 says a NASA-funded study.2 "Despite the passage of [time], this problem has not really been ameliora

Foundations

Defining DNA as the Hereditary Molecule
Defining DNA as the Hereditary Molecule
Waring BlenderCourtesy, Sue Lauter, Cold Spring HarborIn 1952, Alfred Hershey of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and his lab technician, Martha Chase, wanted to confirm that DNA was the carrier of genetic information. They tagged the protein coating of bacteriophages with the sulfur isotope 35S and the DNA core with the phosphorus isotope 32P. Using a Waring blender, they agitated the viral particles and bacteria. The blender caused the viruses to shear off the outside of the bacteria: The tagged

First Person

Leroy Hood
Leroy Hood
Tell us about your recent birthday partyCourtesy of The Institute of Systems BiologyMy wife organized a symposium. It was wonderful. Some of my students that I haven't seen for 20 years attended. The thing that I found the most interesting was how diverse the directions were that my students took. It validates my ideas on how to educate people, to be flexible, and to be willing to explore new things.What scares you?I don't think that this scares me [because] I am confident it will work in the en

Feature

Human Origins from Afar
Human Origins from Afar
LAND OF OUR FATHERS?© 1998 David L. Brill/Brill AtlantaA westward view of Ethiopia's Middle Awash Valley, from the Central Awash complex near Aramis.In a dusty, barren area in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, about 140 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, lies a place that holds unique renown among paleontologists. Over the eons, seasonal rains have washed out and exposed bits of the past, including a spectacular, if scattered, assemblage of human ancestors. Here, a triangular area, 310 miles

Research

On The Fringes Of Life
On The Fringes Of Life
THE VIRAL TREE OF "LIFE"Compiled by Jill U. AdamsIn the late-19th century, scientists showed that certain infectious agents, such as those causing tobacco mosaic virus and yellow fever, were distinct from other microbes because they were so small. Still, it was presumed that they were living organisms until 1935 when tobacco mosaic virus was crystallized. The discovery of its acellular structure made viruses "seem more like nonliving chemical entities of disease," a view still held by many, writ
Exploring Inositide Diversity
Exploring Inositide Diversity
RELEASING THE SECOND MESSENGERS:© 2002 Garland Science/Taylor & Francis BooksIn this common pathway, activated phospholipase C-β hydrolyzes the inositide PI 4,5-bisphosphate to release diacylglyerol and inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate. IP3 opens specific Ca2+ channels releasing the ions from the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. Diacylglycerol can be further cleaved to release arachidonic acid, a signaling molecule needed for the synthesis of other messengers such as prosta-glandins
Dinner, Pets, and Plagues by the Bucketful
Dinner, Pets, and Plagues by the Bucketful
UNEXPECTED ROUTES:Top: Courtesy of Thomas Strömberg; Bottom: Courtesy of David J. Jefferies http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/D.Jefferies/bird/Any time animals are brought together in unnatural densities, it raises the potential for disease disaster. Bullfrogs, mass farmed in South America, are shipped to the United States without disease inspection. Their discarded skins might spread amphibian fungal plagues. Outbreaks of House Finch conjunctivitis and salmonellosis in song birds have sp
A Left-Brain/Right-Brain Conundrum Revisited
A Left-Brain/Right-Brain Conundrum Revisited
A prominent British psychiatrist recently revived old arguments about the origins of language and the evolution of humans. Tim Crow at Warneford Hospital in Oxford says that reports on ape brain asymmetry are distorted by observer bias.1 Those criticized point to "plenty of evidence" that general functions and skills have gravitated to one side of the brain or the other in animals from chicks to chimps.Crow argues that researchers are finding evidence of language precursors in apes because they

Hot Paper

Playing Protein Hide and Seek
Playing Protein Hide and Seek
LIGHTING THEIR LOCATIONS:© 2002 Cold Spring Harbor PressImmunolocalization of epitope-tagged proteins. (A-E) represent cells containing HAT-tagged proteins stained with the DNA dye, DAPI, and a monoclonal antibody against hemagluttinin, α-HA. At right the images are merged. (F-J) indicates cells carrying V5 tagged proteins. The bar equals 2 μm.Aliens sifting through the remains of a lost human civilization might puzzle over the function of a ladle. But if found in a room associate

Vision

Organellar Proteomics
Organellar Proteomics
For nearly 300 years, cell biology has been largely an observational science. Robert Hooke in 1665 saw structures under the microscope that he called cells. Anthony van Leeuwenhoek discovered cellular substructures in 1700, which Robert Brown dubbed 'nuclei' in 1833. Cell biologists have described many other substructures since then, the most prominent among them being the mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, and nucleolus.With the advent of molecular biology, cell biologists we

Briefs

A Sleek Genome, Except For All the Junk
A Sleek Genome, Except For All the Junk
© AAAS; E. Pennisi, Science, 295: 1809–11, 2002Wolbachia pipientis is a biological eye opener. This intracellular bacterium that colonizes insects and filarial nematodes kills male hosts but thrives in females, sometimes even influencing sexual determination. The recent completion of the W. pipientis genome reveals another unique quality: A streamlined genome without the loss of mobile elements and junk DNA."This finding was an enormous surprise," says Jonathan Eisen, investigator at
Panic's other problems
Panic's other problems
Courtesy of Theoharis TheoharidesRecent research has drawn links between panic disorder and bladder problems of largely unknown origins. A study of 146 families builds on earlier findings that a familial, possibly pleiotropic syndrome that includes panic disorder (PD) and interstitial cystitis (IC) is linked to chromosome 13.1 In a case-controlled study, Columbia University epidemiologist, Myrna Weissman, found that patients with IC and their first-degree relatives also have increased rates of P
Interdisciplinary Research
Interdisciplinary Research
These papers were selected from multiple disciplines from the Faculty of 1000, a Web-based literature awareness tool http://www.facultyof1000.com.N. Sato et al., "Maintenance of pluripotency in human and mouse embryonic stem cells through activation of Wnt signaling by a pharmacological GSK-3-specific inhibitor," Nat Med, 10:55–63, January 2004.Sato and colleagues argue that inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3), resulting in activation of the Wnt-signaling pathway, is sufficient

Tech Watch

Mining for Microbial Community Insights
Mining for Microbial Community Insights
Courtesy of Jillian BanfieldA group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, struck gold in the drainage of an abandoned California mine. Using whole-genome shotgun sequencing, Jillian Banfield and colleagues reconstructed the genomes of microbes found in a pink biofilm that thrives in this extremely acidic environment.1 While other scientists have studied organisms using a similar metagenomics, or environmental genomics, approach (most recently J. Craig Venter and colleagues2),

Software Watch

Bioinformatics for the Linux-Curious
Bioinformatics for the Linux-Curious
If you've been intrigued by Linux but want to avoid the hassle of repartitioning your hard drive, Bioknoppix http://bioknoppix.hpcf.upr.edu may be just what you need. A bioinformatics-themed version of Knoppix, Bioknoppix, unlike most Linux distributions, does not install to the hard drive; instead it runs from a CD.As a result, the existing operating system is untouched, says Bioknoppix codeveloper Humberto Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico. "You just pop the CD in and reboot the computer,

Technology

The Move to Clinical Proteomics
The Move to Clinical Proteomics
Deshaies 02 – Open twisted Alpha/Beta structure #1, #2, #3 – 53 × 108 in. – 3–11" × 14"–28 × 36 cm – Acrylic on canvas – http://www.JacquesDeshaies.comClinical proteomics is undergoing a major shift, perhaps even a revolution. What was principally a search for drug targets in the year 2000 is now more a quest for markers of disease. The hunt for a single protein has turned into a pursuit to identify patterns of polypeptides. Buzzwords such

How It Works

MALDI-TOF/TOF Mass Spectrometer
MALDI-TOF/TOF Mass Spectrometer
Perhaps no tool has been as instrumental to the proteomics revolution as the mass spectrometer. With the ability to deconvolute highly complex mixtures over a wide range of abundance levels, these machines enable researchers to identify and quantify proteins and to determine if and how those proteins have been post-translationally modified.The basic mass spectrometer measures an ion's mass-to-charge (m/z) ratio only. This enables peptide mass fingerprinting, which is the identification of a prot

Data Points

The (Garden) State of Life Sciences
The (Garden) State of Life Sciences
Facts and figures• Employment: Compounded annual growth rate was 1.0% between 1990 and 2000-below the national average of 2.0%• Patents: 11.2 per 10,000 workers in 2000-above the national average of 7.5-but growth rate in the 1990s was 2.5% compared to 4.1% for the nation• Venture capital: Funding in 2002 was $106 per worker, slightly lower than the national average of $125• Fast-growth firms: NJ averaged 3.9% of all Inc500 fastest-growing firms between 1993–2002, c
Not Yet a Biotech Empire
Not Yet a Biotech Empire
In the pipelineNumber of drugs in development by New York companiesEmploymentNumber of biotechnology employees in New York††Includes only those companies still in existence or operating in the state in 2002Facts and figures• New York is home to 101 biotechnology companies, more than half of which focus on the development of new therapeutic products and related drug-delivery technologies• For every public biotech company in New York state, there are about three private one

Profession

NIH Tackling Tricky Ethics Reform
NIH Tackling Tricky Ethics Reform
Digital VisionAs the US Congress and others investigate conflict-of-interest allegations at the National Institutes of Health, ethics lawyers warn that reforms will not be easy, and questions remain about whether overly aggressive changes could hinder the practical application of biomedical research. At issue are NIH scientists' outside consulting relationships with drug and biotechnology companies that work with the agency. In December 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that federal research l
Scientists Puzzle Over Ancient Ossuary
Scientists Puzzle Over Ancient Ossuary
© Royal Ontario Museum, Brian Boyle, MPAIn October 2002, a group of archaeologists held a press conference in Washington, DC, to announce a startling discovery. A limestone box had been discovered in Israel with the inscription "James the son of Joseph the brother of Jesus." It was a stunning find: the first physical evidence of Jesus. The news swept through the field of biblical archaeology. The ossuary, a container for the bones of the deceased meant to be kept in a cave, was already on i
Biotechs Take on Risks to Make Drugs
Biotechs Take on Risks to Make Drugs
MANUFACTURING ON A LARGE SCALE:Courtesy of Biogen IdecWorkers calibrate and monitor equipment and production processes at a large-scale manufacturing facility.Biotech companies are focusing on manufacturing after years of struggling to come up with advances in the laboratory. As biotech finance sources become available and new products continue to reach the marketplace, research companies debate whether to become manufacturers as well.For drug discovery companies, adding manufacturing to their c
NEW York-New Jersey Life Science Nirvana
NEW York-New Jersey Life Science Nirvana
Love it or hate it, if you want to play in the big leagues, the New York-New Jersey region is the place to be. From prestigous universities, medical centers, and research hospitals in Manhattan and Long Island, to major pharmaceutical research and manufacturing facilities in New Jersey, the region's life sciences can be characterized by such words as power-house and blockbuster.New York City alone (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx) boasts 25 academic research and medical
Educate Your MP
Educate Your MP
File PhotoIn the past, science was a fringe issue for the public. More recently, however, debates over genetically modified food crops, cloning, and stem-cell therapy have stoked public fears. Politicians often add little to the debates because they don't understand the science; in turn, scientists' reticence adds to the public's bewilderment.With so much legislation now based on scientific research, scientists need to be involved in the decision-making. "I feel very strongly that scientists hav

Postdoc Talk

New Country and Career; New Lessons
New Country and Career; New Lessons
Courtesy of Shweta SharmaWhen I had almost completed my doctorate, I looked for a postdoc position in a reputable US institution. After not much effort, I ended up at the University of California, San Diego. My intention was to enhance my skills and ensure career growth in science. This was in tune with Peter Medawar's book Advice to a Young Scientist: "The most important thing a young scientist can do is to pick the right postdoctoral environment."After landing in the US, I was moved by the kin

Closing Bell

Hate Grant Writing? Stand Up and Be Counted
Hate Grant Writing? Stand Up and Be Counted
Recently, I cofounded a small business, and my partner and I decided that we needed capital. Since neither of us had the desire or skills to write the mandatory business plan, we hired Howie, a new MBA and my son's friend, to do it for us. We gave Howie some background information and made some guesses about what things would cost and what we would earn. After getting additional background material, Howie devised a business plan that my potential investors say is just fine.Howie could not have d