December 2000

News

Production Genomics
Production Genomics
Courtesy of William Ghiorse (2 Termononaspora images) and Margie Romine (Sphingomonas image)The two images at left are of Termononaspora fusca.Right: Sphingomonas aromaticivorans Be forewarned. Visitors to Walnut Creek, Calif., may want to leave their pets at home to keep them from becoming fodder for gene sequencers. The Joint Genome Institute (JGI) at Walnut Creek, genome central for the U.S. Department of Energy, is one of the largest sequencing operations in the world, where "it turns out it
Furthering Franklin's Legacy
Furthering Franklin's Legacy
Eyewire © 2000 Harkening back to mid-18th century science, Clay M. Armstrong, professor of physiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, tied his ground-breaking research on the ion-channel gating mechanism to Ben Franklin's famous kite and key theories as he accepted the 2000 John Scott Award on Nov. 17. The award's advisory committee also recognized Adriaan Bax for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy applications and Mary-Dell Chilton for her rese
Nobel Impact
Nobel Impact
Right to left (standing): Arnold Thackray, president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation; historian of science Tore Frängsmyer of Uppsala University; Alan MacDiarmid (2000 Nobel laureate in chemistry); Joseph Miller of DuPont; historian of science Everett Mendelsohn of Harvard University; Max Perutz (1962); Dudley Herschbach (1986); Rudolph Marcus (1992); and Harold Kroto (1996). Seated: Jerome Karle (1985) and Roald Hoffman (1981). Alfred Nobel, the reclusive inventor of dynamite, probably
Polio Eradication Goal Extended
Polio Eradication Goal Extended
Luis Fermin Tenorio, the last polio case in the Western hemisphere The goal to eradicate polio by the end of 2000 remains elusive, and the amount of time left in this month won't change that. On Sept. 27, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International, UNICEF, and various private donors announced at the Polio Partners Summit held at the United Nations that they are joining forces to intensify the eradication campaign, with a new deadline
News Notes
News Notes
Next Up for Gene Sequencing: Zebrafish Sequencing of the zebrafish genome will aid annotation of the human genome and facilitate gene identification. Already a widely used genetics animal model, the zebrafish will soon join the ranks of organisms whose genomes have been sequenced, thus boosting the popular aquarium pet's research value even more. The Sanger Centre of Cambridge, U.K., announced on Nov. 21 that it would head zebrafish-sequencing efforts, scheduled to begin in February or March o

Letter

Debating the Food Debate, Two Views (2)
Debating the Food Debate, Two Views (2)
It's understandable that The Scientist's coverage of the GMO [genetically modified organism] debate focuses on the science of crop technology, and understandable if most of your readers favor continued research and development of GMOs. However, I should hope your editors, reporters, and readers also understand that technology is just one dimension of the controversy. For some GMO critics, social and political concerns outweigh arguments over bioengineered crops' safety to humans and the natural
Debating the Food Debate, Two Views (1)
Debating the Food Debate, Two Views (1)
Several points in Kate Devine's article, "GM Food Debate Gets Spicy,"1 deserve amplification. The first pertains to the widespread recall of foods containing "StarLink" corn. The bottom line is that not a single person is at all likely to be harmed by this product, which differs from other commercial varieties by the presence of a Bacillus thuringiensis protein called Cry9C. The foods in question are actually far less likely than thousands of other products on the market to cause allergic or oth

Commentary

U.S. Must Do More to Protect Deployed Forces
U.S. Must Do More to Protect Deployed Forces
It's been a decade since the Persian Gulf War. But the controversy continues over whether the long-term health problems of some Gulf War veterans were caused by exposure to chemical warfare agents and other hazardous materials. Unfortunately for many veterans and their families, it may never be settled definitively. Despite numerous studies that have investigated the issue, there is not enough evidence to link long-term health problems with exposures to certain drugs, chemicals, and vaccines kno

Research

Bug-Busting Grows Sophisticated
Bug-Busting Grows Sophisticated
Credit: William Jacobs, Albert Einstein College of MedicineTuberculosis bacterium The battles that scientists wage against bacteria and viruses resemble chess matches between grandmasters and supercomputers. Highly intelligent people are pitted against entities that aren't conscious but that nevertheless hold two big advantages. Populated by hosts of individually sensitive microchips or microorganisms, these entities can react with lightning speed. And tutored intensively by computer programmers
Progress in Treating DMD
Progress in Treating DMD
Credit: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cross sections of muscle cells from a mouse treated with an adeno-associated virus vector carrying a mini-dystrophin gene (green area). Blue stains indicate cell nuclei. Gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has been particularly challenging because of the enormity of the dystrophin gene. Fitting the 3 million base pair behemoth into a viral vector is not unlike Prince Charming trying to shove large feet into Cinderella's tiny glass sl
Research Notes
Research Notes
Feeling Faint? Drink Water While politicians fight over how to reduce the cost of drugs, there's one "medicine" that costs almost nothing and is as close as the nearest faucet: water. At the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held recently in New Orleans, a group of investigators at Vanderbilt University and at Humboldt University in Berlin presented findings that drinking tap water before standing from a sitting or prone position prevents orthostatic hypotension, or fainting, in

Hot Paper

Uncovering a Genome's Regulatory Circuitry
Uncovering a Genome's Regulatory Circuitry
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Richard A. Young, professor of biology at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, 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. F.C. Holstege, E.G. Jennings, J.J. Wyrick, T.I. Lee, C.J. Hengartner, M.R. Green, T.R. Golub, E.S. Lander, and R.A. Young RA. "Dissecting th
Human Neurogenesis
Human Neurogenesis
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Fred H. Gage, director of the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. 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. P.S. Eriksson, E. Perfilieva, T. Bjork-Eriksson, A.M. Alborn, C. Nordborg, D.A. Peterson, and F.H. Gage. "Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus," Nature Medicine, 4:1

Technology

Applied Imaging Targets Tumors
Applied Imaging Targets Tumors
The presence of individual tumor cells (micrometastasis) in bone marrow and peripheral blood is gaining importance as a prognostic marker for various carcinomas. Until recently, detection required manual identification and analysis that was laborious, time-consuming, and error-prone. In September the Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of MDS, a new, automated slide-scanning microscopy platform and cell-ular imaging system developed by Applied Imaging Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif.
BioSignal Packard's Better BRET
BioSignal Packard's Better BRET
Protein-protein interaction is a key concept in the fields of signal transduction and gene regulation. Investigators can make educated guesses as to whether two proteins actually interact, but verifying these interactions is not a trivial task. Classical biochemical techniques are fraught with pitfalls that make data acquisition and interpretation difficult. BioSignal Packard, a division of Packard Instruments, has introduced the BRET2 (Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer) system to assess

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
The Slicker Picker-Upper ENPAC Corp.'s Poly-Labtray™ protects laboratory benches and workers from unrecoverable spills and overflows of liquid and free-flowing powder chemicals. The tray features a removable grated surface, which holds up to four one-gallon bottles and permits spills to flow to a 2.5-gallon-capacity sump tray below. Portable and compact, the Poly-Labtray is made of 100 percent polyethylene and will not rust or corrode. ENPAC (800) 936-7229 www.enpac.com Matrix Technol

Technology Profile

Microscopy Paraphernalia
Microscopy Paraphernalia
Suppliers of CCD Cameras Suppliers of CCD Cameras (continued) Suppliers of Microscopy Peripherals - Supplemental Table not in Print Edition Andover filters Converting a new microscope's potential into accomplishment takes patience and knowledge. It has to be coupled to imaging devices, mounted on a vibration isolation system, and surrounded by microhandling instruments. The options can seem overwhelming. First, the number of Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) cameras for biological microscopy is s
New Tools Enable Gene Delivery
New Tools Enable Gene Delivery
Electroporator Suppliers Lipid Transfection Reagents - Supplemental Table not in Print Edition Virus Transduction Reagents - Supplemental Table not in Print Edition Equibio Ltd.'s CelljecT Pro system Technologies that introduce DNA and RNA into eukaryotic cells, tissues, or organisms provide opportunities to study the regulation and function of genes and proteins. The biggest barrier that these technologies must overcome is the cell membrane, which is not permeable to highly charged macromol

Profession

Science Salaries
Science Salaries
Last year, The Scientist reported on annual and semiannual salary surveys of scientists in academia, government, and industry,1 based on published sources from professional societies, private firms, the federal government, and academic groups. This article is an update on the tried-and-true annual surveys and results from some new ones. "The greatest demand is still for people trained in fields such as information technology and engineering," says Eleanor Babco, executive director of the Washi
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Collaborating on Russia's Microbial Diversity In an effort to control the propagation of biological warfare expertise, the Department of Energy (DOE) Initiative for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program has launched a collaborative effort with four Russian biological institutes and a U.S. corporation to create a Russian Ecological Biotrade Center in Puschino. The goal is to use biomolecular techniques to evaluate the range, extent, and potential value of Russia's microbial diversity. DOE will
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 kdevine@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences

Opinion

Whither Cell Biology?
Whither Cell Biology?
Illustration: A. Canamucio Cell biology has become the third overlapping core discipline of modern biology, along with biochemistry and genetics. Progress over the century--since E.B. Wilson's classic book1 elegantly framed many of the questions of cell biology--has relied on advances in technology and yielded fascinating insights into the ways that cells work. We now have an unprecedented understanding of the structure, organization, and functions of cells. As the number of completed ge