News

NCI, Cray Blaze Through Genome Map
NCI, Cray Blaze Through Genome Map
Late last year, while watching a news report that examined the challenges of annotating the human genome sequence, Bill Long had an epiphany. A programmer at Seattle-based Cray Inc., Long realized that many bioinformatics complexities are basically problems of pattern matching--a Cray specialty. So, Long phoned the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC) and suggested a collaboration. He was well received. Says ABCC director Stan Burt, facility researchers "
How to Create a Successful Fish Tale?
How to Create a Successful Fish Tale?
More than 80 percent of the planet's living organisms exist only in aquatic ecosystems. Some may harbor secrets to human origins, and clues, treatments--perhaps even cures--for human disease. Some are critical bioindicators that portend the health of the biosphere. Yet, overall, scientists know little about the biochemical processes of these life forms. The vast, rich knowledge within the oceans and freshwater systems on Earth remains virtually untapped, because in the world of biological resear
Cloning Capsized?
Cloning Capsized?
Biopharmaceutical researchers fear how pending federal legislation outlawing the cloning of human cells will restrict their abilities to find cures for major degenerative diseases.1,2 Some also see lawmakers impinging on established nonhuman cloning techniques essential for the discovery of new drugs and therapies. The source of all this worry? The US House of Representatives passed July 31 by a wide margin a bill (H.R. 2505) sponsored by Reps. David Weldon (R-Fla.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) th
Society Honors Golden Corn Inventor
Society Honors Golden Corn Inventor
Scientists who gathered in Providence, R.I. in late July for the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists paused one evening to honor a pioneer in plant biotechnology. The society gave Swiss researcher Ingo Potrykus its Leadership in Science Public Service Award for his molecular tour de force in creating beta carotene-enriched 'golden' rice. Along with Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg in Germany, and Xudong Ye, now at Agricetus Monsanto in Madison, Wis, Potrykus moved
ASPB Research Points to Biotech Potential
ASPB Research Points to Biotech Potential
The American Society of Plant Physiologists recently changed its name to the American Society of Plant Biologists and celebrated the event during its summer meeting in Providence, R.I. More than 1,400 scientists, including members of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, heard and presented results on everything from genomics to pathogenesis to pattern formation, and some of the work had strong biotechnological implications. Here's a sample of what transpired: Salt of the Earth A little
Environment vs. Genes
Environment vs. Genes
Unlike the chicken-and-egg dilemma, scientists know that genes come before the environment. In genetically based diseases, however, the question is not when but how. How do environmental conditions and lifestyle choices interact with a person's molecular structure? "We're all groping in the dark to find out how to get a handle on this complexity," says Marianne Berwick, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Although scientists can now assess exposure levels to
HHS Limits Employee Travel
HHS Limits Employee Travel
While touting its support for large increases in research funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bush administration engaged in a backhanded slap to scientists in all divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In mid-March, Ed Sontag, deputy chief of staff for operations in HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's office, issued a memo to all HHS divisional staff heads requiring that they "must clear all domestic travel" with his office. International travel for certai
News Notes
News Notes
Four pharmaceuticals have joined the National Institutes of Health to find early warning signs and potential drug targets for osteoarthritis. The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) will provide approximately $8 million a year over the next five-to-seven years to support clinical data collection from 5,000 people at high-risk for osteoarthritis. GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer have each committed $800,000, and the majority of federal funding comes from the coffers of the

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
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Letter

More Myth of Mechanism
More Myth of Mechanism
Let me strongly second the view of T.V. Rajan1 (June 25, 2001) that a lack of understanding of mechanism should not invalidate the recognition of scientific phenomena. The most egregious example of mechanistic thinking impeding scientific progress is that of continental drift. Alfred Wegener in Germany (1910) and F. B. Taylor in America (1908) proposed this theory, but lack of a plausible mechanism prevented most geologists from accepting the hypothesis for 50 years despite the obvious fit of th
Lost Research Opportunities
Lost Research Opportunities
Many news outlets covering the Houston flooding chose to highlight the loss of thousands of laboratory animals. However, The Scientist refocused the issue and covered the research opportunities that also were lost in the flood.1 The physical damages sustained by the research facilities amounted to almost $5 billion, but one can't assign a price tag to the research that has been destroyed and/or interrupted. How does one calculate the human costs of delayed therapies or even cures for diseases

Commentary

Easing the Suffering of Cancer Patients
Easing the Suffering of Cancer Patients
The good news made headlines nationwide: Deaths from several kinds of cancer have declined significantly in recent years. But the news has to be bittersweet for many cancer patients and their families. Every year, more than 500,000 people in the United States still die of cancer. In fact, more than half of all patients diagnosed with cancer will die of their disease within a few years. And while it's true survival is longer today than in the past, the quality of life for these patients is often

Research

Crohn's: An Autoimmune or Bacterial-Related Disease?
Crohn's: An Autoimmune or Bacterial-Related Disease?
In 1996 geneticist Gilles Thomas and colleagues at the INSERM, the French Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris, reported that IBD1, a region on the long arm of chromosome 16, was a Crohn's disease susceptibility locus.1 Five years later, in a second study, they announced that they had pinpointed the exact gene. The researchers contended that the connection between Crohn's and NOD2, the implicated gene located in IBD1, provided evidence to support the hypothesis that the disease is
One Human Enemy Against Another
One Human Enemy Against Another
The idea that a virus could aid in killing cancer began to take hold after 1904, when scientists observed tumor regression in a cervical cancer patient after she received a rabies vaccination.1 Other anecdotal evidence that viruses could repress tumors appeared throughout the 1900s, but research tapered off as toxic effects outweighed the benefits. Now, recent advances have scientists revisiting abandoned notions. "It's a combination of a much improved understanding of virology and of tumor biol
Research Notes
Research Notes
Likening his discovery to a paleontologist unearthing a new dinosaur species, Vladimir Kapitonov, a staff scientist at the Genetic Information Research Institute, recently revealed a new class of transposable elements in eukaryotes. These jumping genes use rolling circle replication--an ancient process characteristic of some plasmid replication in bacteria--to copy and insert itself throughout entire genomes (V.V. Kapitonov, J. Jurka, "Rolling circle transposons in eukaryotes," Proceedings of th
New Magnet Clarifies fMRI Signals
New Magnet Clarifies fMRI Signals
Despite the widespread use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural basis of everything from digestion to facial recognition, scientists have never definitively shown that fMRI measurements directly reflect neural activity.1 But in late July, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, presented the newest concrete information concerning exactly what fMRI measures.2 The results, achieved through use of a specially

Hot Paper

R Genes Help Unravel Signaling Paths
R Genes Help Unravel Signaling Paths
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Tina Romeis, postdoctoral researcher, Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Center, Norwich, UK. 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. T. Romeis, P. Piedras, S. Zhang, D.F. Klessig, H. Hirt, J.D.G. Jones, "Rapid Avr9- and Cf-9-dependent activation of MAP kinases in tobacco cell cultures and leaves: convergence of resistance gene, elicitor, wou
Creating Healthy, Long-Living Cloned Animals
Creating Healthy, Long-Living Cloned Animals
For this article, James Kling interviewed Eric W. Overström, associate professor biomedical sciences, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Mass. 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. A. Baguisi, E. Behboodi, D.T. Melican, J.S. Pollock, M.M. Destrempes, C. Cammuso, J.L. Williams, S.D. Nims, C.A. Porter, P. Midura, M.J. Palacios, S.L. Ayres, R.S, Den

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Bio-Nobile Oy of Turku, Finland, has introduced the PickPen™, a novel magnetic particle transfer device. Unlike traditional magnetic separation methods, which generally require aspiration of liquids after separation of bound materials via a magnetic stand, the PickPen removes the particles of interest themselves. First a retractable magnet is inserted into the disposable tip of the PickPen device. The tip is dipped into the sample and removed after the magnetic particles bind. Particles ar

Technology

Mining for Microarray Gold
Mining for Microarray Gold
The use of high-throughput gene expression analysis technologies, such as microarrays, yields reams of data. Unfortunately, data stemming from competing and alternate technologies is often stored in a variety of formats, making comprehensive analyses difficult. Kirkland, Wash.-based Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc. offers a product that now enables scientists to join all of their gene expression data in a single location, and to mine that data for nuggets of gold unimaginable when the experiments were

Technology Profile

Integral Connections
Integral Connections
Click to view the PDF file: Suppliers of Integrin-Related Reagents Courtesy of Rick HorwitzReprinted with permission from the Journal of Cell BiologyPaxillin-GFP in WI38 human fibroblast cells showing paxillin turnover as cells migrate. The image is an overlay of 2 separate time points. Editor's note: A group of scientists led by M. Amin Arnaout at Massachusetts General Hospital published the first crystal structure of the human integrin aVb3 extracellular domain, on September 9, 2001.(www.sc
Mass Spectrometry Applications for Proteomics
Mass Spectrometry Applications for Proteomics
Click to view the PDF file: Proteomic Mass Spectrometry Equipment Courtesy of CiphergenCiphergen's SELDI process, a MALDI variant that includes a surface-based enrichment step Early in the twentieth century, scientists puzzled over the observation that certain elements that were otherwise physically indistinguishable from each other nevertheless exhibited different radioactive decay characteristics. These elements would ultimately come to be known as isotopes, but at the time this concept was

Profession

Scientists Seek Passports to Freer Environments
Scientists Seek Passports to Freer Environments
While US lawmakers and scientists clash over the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for therapy, researchers in the United Kingdom enjoy a peaceful regulatory climate, fueling speculation that US scientists may flee to freer shores. The Bush administration's delay in issuing a policy on research with material derived from human embryonic stem cells--which may have potential for healing degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and diabetes--might send some of America's best minds overseas, p
Get Thee to the Market, Scientist
Get Thee to the Market, Scientist
Dream inventions may fizzle. Managers and marketers can interfere with research and nudge scientists out of key decisions. Commercial product development is fraught with problems. But inventors in academia urge their colleagues to brave the risks and take their ideas to market anyway. At least that's the sentiment emerging from a reader survey conducted by The Scientist. "Do it," insists one respondent, even though a university developed a product based on her research without compensating, or
Survey: Taking Science to Market
Survey: Taking Science to Market
There are a total of 242 responses FROM 22-Jun-2001 to 11-Jul-2001.   E-mailarticle 1. Have you ever thought of commercially developing any research discovery from an academic lab or research institute?   Percent Count Answers 50.8% 122/240 Yes 47.1% 113/240 No 2.1% 5/240 Other   100.0% 240/240 Summary 2. Have you ever experienced a company developing a product, based on your research without your involvement?   Percent Count Answers
The 'Uncompany' Answer to Building a Company
The 'Uncompany' Answer to Building a Company
Life scientists who want to see their ideas pay off but who don't want to get bogged down in bureaucratic drudgery can take heart from a new trend in business organization. Instead of pushing scientists to hire and oversee pricey financial and legal and regulatory experts, a new breed of barebones biopharmaceutical venture capitalists invest early, when the inventors first create their companies, and recruit outside administrators to handle the management. Charles Hadley and Hal Broderson hold
Harvesting a Field of Science Dreams
Harvesting a Field of Science Dreams
For Ella Ofori, the dream of scientific research required more than the usual long hours: she had to work full time and squeeze night courses at the Community College of Philadelphia into her schedule. Often arriving home after 10 p.m., she'd study until the wee hours. But all that changed when Ofori received a letter from the college explaining she had qualified for a special training program. Two years later, Ofori, 25, has nearly two years of laboratory experience. She routinely performs ELI
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Roche Diagnostics of Basil, Switzerland, and the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research have signed a pact to create a new line of tests using PCR technology. The deal between Roche and Mayo--the first of its kind for the research institute--exemplifies the surge of new interest in DNA-amplification technology, which has been around for more than a decade. "It is an area where there is an increasing commercial opportunity, as more of the genotypes of different microbes are identified
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Click to view our current database of Funding Opportunites in the Life Sciences.

Opinion

In Cloning, Will One Person Really Make a Difference?
In Cloning, Will One Person Really Make a Difference?
In just a week, two developments in Washington restored cloning to the very top of the policy agenda in the United States, knocking stem cell research off the perch it had enjoyed--or just endured--for months. On July 31, by a vote of 265 to 162, the House of Representatives passed the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001, a ban on all human cloning, including therapeutic cloning to derive immunologically compatible embryonic stem cells. And on August 7, Severino Antinori, an infertility specia