News

Life Sciences Meet the Public In Science Centers, Museums
Life Sciences Meet the Public In Science Centers, Museums
Photo: Keith Merrill/Ogden Entertainment LIFE IN THE BALANCE: In the emerald realm of the Amazon rain forest, a baby lies on a giant lily pad. This scene is from the film Amazon, which is being shown at science centers and museums as an added attraction for other exhibits on rain forests. Museums featuring life science exhibits--from hands-on displays showing how the human body works at the California Science Center in Los Angeles to a comprehensive look at the subject of biodiversity at the A
Zebrafish Continue to Elucidate Development of Vertebrates
Zebrafish Continue to Elucidate Development of Vertebrates
Zebrafish The key to understanding vertebrate development and the origins of human birth defects may lie with the fishes--that is, with the zebrafishes (Danio rerio). Using zebrafish mutants produced primarily by chemical mutagenesis, researchers have, in recent years, turned the popular aquarium pets, originally from India, into invaluable tools for understanding the finest genetic details of vertebrate embryogenesis. Zebrafishes are the only viable candidate for large-scale vertebrate mutage
Making Sense of Antisense
Making Sense of Antisense
As first complimentary oligonucleotide is poised for market, questions remain about mechanisms A drug that halts an AIDS-related eye infection could be the first antisense therapy to reach the market. However, whether the drug can truly be called "antisense" depends on some specifics--such as the ability to bind to targeted messenger RNA (mRNA) but avoid clinging to other proteins. Representatives of the drug's manufacturer, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif., say fomivirsen (Vitra
New Center Expands Origin of Life Studies
New Center Expands Origin of Life Studies
Scientific investigation of life's origins, once mostly a theoretical enterprise, has gained momentum in recent years as biologists have discovered hardy microbes in extreme terrestrial habitats and possible hints of lifelike structures in a Martian meteorite. One recent sign that the field is alive and well is the establishment of a new NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) for the Study of Origins of Life in the Albany area of New York. MULTIPLE YEARS: James Ferris, profe
Investigators Isolate ""Handedness"" Gene
Investigators Isolate ""Handedness"" Gene
LEFT AND RIGHT: A wild type st 45 Xenopus embryo with rightward heart looping and counter-clockwise gut coiling is shown on the left. In contrast, a st 45 embryo that was injected with Pitx2 at the 4 cell stage exhibits leftward heart looping and clockwise gut coiling. When it comes to organ orientation, one gene can make the difference between right and left. That gene, Pitx2 , has been identified as the key to asymmetry, or "handedness," the property describing on which side of the body the

Opinion

Creative Arts and Science Form the Pillars of Learning
Creative Arts and Science Form the Pillars of Learning
A world without art also would be a world without science. The creative arts are the defining dimension that has identified our humanity since cave walls provided the canvas for the first hand print and the first depictions of bison and woolly mammoths. From our desire to depict and re-create the world with our unique human touch, we also developed the scientific eye to record the details captured through our observations of nature. This experience of data collection we know as empiricism. As a

Commentary

Following Science Policy: The Play's the Thing
Following Science Policy: The Play's the Thing
Reporting on the federal science funding process over the last year has been like watching a drama unfold. Especially since, after careful scrutiny, one gets the impression that the players--the legislators, the administrators, the activists, the lobbyists--can only really carry out their scripted roles. Curtains parted last fall to reveal a soaring economy and an unprecedented budget surplus. There was going to be a research bonanza, a renewed commitment to R&D. Even deficit hawks such as

Letter

Cornell Dispute
Cornell Dispute
Thanks for your report on the disturbing story of a Cornell doctoral student's struggle with a professor and the university's refusal to handle the case properly (B. Goodman, The Scientist, 12[15]:1, July 20, 1998). But there is yet another piece of this complex puzzle you neglected to mention. As a result of USDA's withdrawal of funding, [in that case], other educators around the country dedicated to carrying out [Antonia] Demas's critical work have been unable to apply for USDA funding them
Scientific Misconduct
Scientific Misconduct
[Sharoni] Shafir and [Donald] Kennedy are right to be concerned about the state of scientific misconduct--both real and perceived--in this country (Opinion, The Scientist, 12[13]:9, June 22, 1998), but they fall into the typical traps awaiting most researchers critiquing science journalism. In the first place, they fault news media coverage of the Acadia study (J.P. Swazey et al., American Scientist, 81:542-53, 1993) as suggesting that "such misconduct is common." My perception of the overall
Science Education Lays Another Egg
Science Education Lays Another Egg
Having worked in research in both the United States and Europe, I agree with [D.J.] Steinberg's observations (Commentary, The Scientist, 12[13]:8, June 22, 1998), particularly in regard to the "bargain basement wages for many workers." The northern European institutions award teaching assistantships to graduate students that roughly correspond to postdoc salaries in the U.S. Assistant professors receive a wage commensurate with their education and experience, not below the national average for

Research

Differential Gene Expression: Technology Provides Quick Access to DNA Data
Differential Gene Expression: Technology Provides Quick Access to DNA Data
HOW IT WORKS: This diagram shows how Genzyme's SAGE method flows from one stage to another. In 1997, Genzyme Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., was shopping for new technology. "We were creating a cancer company, to put together a group of technologies that would give us a gene-based approach to cancer drug discovery," recalls Susan Primrose, director of business development at the now-formed Genzyme Molecular Oncology (GMO) in Framingham, Mass. They found a key to their project in SAGE (Serial Anal

Hot Paper

Signal Transduction
Signal Transduction
Y.X. Huang, W.A. Paxton, S.M. Wolinsky, A.U. Neumann, L.Q. Zhang, T. He, S. Kang, D. Ceradini, Z.Q. Jin, K. Yazdanbakhsh, K. Kuntsman, D. Erickson, E. Dragon, N.R. Landau, J. Phair, D.D. Ho, R.A. Koup, "The role of a mutant CCR5 allele in HIV-1 transmission and disease progression," Nature Medicine, 2:1240-3, November 1996. (Cited in more than 150 papers since publication) Comments by David D. Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Rockefeller University, New York "We need
Gene Therapy
Gene Therapy
Inder Verma L. Naldini, U. Blomer, P. Gallay, D. Ory, R. Mulligan, F.H. Gage, I.M. Verma, D. Trono, "In Vivo Gene Delivery and Stable Transduction of Nondividing Cells by a Lentiviral Vector," Science, 272:263-7, 1996. (Cited in more than 185 papers since publication) Comments by Inder M. Verma, American Cancer Society professor of molecular biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif. In the world of gene therapy, there's a fine line between friend and foe. HIV at

Profession

Universities Nurture Researchers' Business Start-Ups
Universities Nurture Researchers' Business Start-Ups
Photo courtesy of Lee P. Thomas WILLING PARTNER: The University of Kentucky works closely with business and industry, says Ed Carter, vice president for management and budget. In the course of an academic research project, you make a discovery that has potential applications outside the laboratory. As you explore the idea further, you become convinced that the advance might form the basis for a new company. But as a working scientist, you know roughly as much about commercial start-ups as you

Technology

Shot In The Arm
Shot In The Arm
LabConsumer takes Gel-O Shooters Heat & Pour Agarose Gels on a test drive It was one of those days. The autoclave repairman had shown up early and the facility manager was out. Not an unusual occurrence, but it was not the best day for it. I just had to get an agarose gel in before my pending lunchtime meeting. What to do? I thought about using a precast agarose gel, but I had more samples than precast wells and everything had to run on one gel. Casting my own gel was an option, but I neede
Where to Find a Good Botulinum Neurotoxin?
Where to Find a Good Botulinum Neurotoxin?
Motor Neuron Treated With Cholera Toxin ß-Subunit Conjugate. A number of bacterial exotoxins and lipopolysaccharides have unique physiological activities that make them useful experimental tools. However, it is often difficult to find these reagents, especially highly purified preparations. List Biological Labs specifically addresses this niche. According to the president, Dr. Linda Shoer, List's core expertise is "making unique, highly purified bacterial proteins." List is the only man
Dendrimer probes from Genisphere: Probes with 1000x More Sensitivity Dendrimer 3DNA Probes from Genisphere
Dendrimer probes from Genisphere: Probes with 1000x More Sensitivity Dendrimer 3DNA Probes from Genisphere
Dendrimer probes from Genisphere Genisphere claims that use of its 3DNA Probe 100 or 3DNA Probe 1000 systems with a standard oligonucleotide probe amplifies the signal of any common detection method by 100- or 1,000-fold, respectively. These systems effect this amplification by employing a "dendrimer" to construct a labeled-oligonucleotide-DNA complex during the labeling reaction. Dendrimers are large DNA matrices that have multiple single-stranded DNA ends. A dendrimer monomer consists of tw

Technology Profile

Channel Surfing: A Profile Of Electronic Multichannel Pipettors
Channel Surfing: A Profile Of Electronic Multichannel Pipettors
Date: August 31, 1998Multichannel Pipettors Ouch! A full day of depressing the plunger on a manual pipettor can really smart. The 600 to 700 grams of thumb pressure required for each pipetting and blow-out stroke adds up after a few hundred repetitions. Combine that with individually filling all 96 wells on a microtiter plate, and the phrase "pipettor's thumb" falls right in with tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive strain injuries. In fact, the development of numerous han
Molecular Modeling - Seeing the Whole Picture with Modeling Software Packages
Molecular Modeling - Seeing the Whole Picture with Modeling Software Packages
Date: August 31, 1998Table 1: Molecular Modeling Software, Table 2: Structure & Modeling Information and Table 3: Visualization & Image Resources The term "molecular modeling" usually conjures up two images: three-dimensional (3-D) depictions of small molecular structures (for example, benzene) and biological macromolecular structures (for example, proteins, DNA, and RNA). Some of the earliest and perhaps most renowned 3-D representations of a biological macromolecule were the wire-fram

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
RNA BEGINNINGS Research that began as a quest to see how plant cells become infested with viruses ended in questions about the origins of life. In that quest, Steven A. Lommel of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and colleagues used a reporter gene to follow the viral activity in its host. But the gene didn't light up as expected during their study of the genome of a red clover necrotic mosaic Dianthovirus (RCNMV) genome [T.L. Sit, et al, Science, 28:1829-32, Aug. 7,1998]. The genome