February 1999

News

Does accountability legislation threaten integrity of U.S. research enterprise?
Does accountability legislation threaten integrity of U.S. research enterprise?
Mildred Dresselhaus coauthored a report to be released Feb. 17. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) President Bruce M. Alberts was so concerned by the accountability provision buried in last year's "omnibus" budget legislation that on Jan. 26 he sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew in which he writes that he's "convinced that the new legislation will have serious, unintended consequences for the nation's research enterprise." Speaking at the recent American Associ
D Falls in FY 2000 Budget Proposal
D Falls in FY 2000 Budget Proposal
President Bill Clinton's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) emphasized technology over science during the unveiling of the president's fiscal year (FY) 2000 budget request Feb. 1. The administration requested $78.42 billion for total civilian and military R&D--over $1 billion less than for FY1999. If Congress strictly adheres to that request next fall, most agencies that fund science would see their budgets at or below this year's level, after accounting for inflation. The two
Harnessing the Microbial World: Big Info in Small Packages
Harnessing the Microbial World: Big Info in Small Packages
Using genomcs to develop new antibiotics and vaccines could help prepare for potential bioterrorist actions Although the Human Genome Project now draws more attention, the genomes of smaller organisms collectively contain more information. The American Association for the Advancement of Science's second annual Genome Seminar, held at this year's annual meeting in January in Anaheim, Calif., focused on analyzing that information for a myriad of purposes ranging from developing malaria vaccine s
Preparing for a Genomic World
Preparing for a Genomic World
Discoveries in genomics will bring about enormous changes in the scientific community, but these changes have "caught many sectors of the biomedical academic community off guard," cautions Allen W. Cowley Jr., professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Cowley calls "scientific manpower preparedness" a hurdle science must overcome to fully benefit from the Human Genome Project. A shortage of scientists appropriately trained to define the physiological function of genes and expre
Prescriptions with a Personal Touch
Prescriptions with a Personal Touch
Kits and chips will routinely screen for the genetic implications of new drugs within the next 10 years, and therapeutics is becoming a science as opposed to an art. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will expect pharmaceutical companies to have molecular insights into how drugs work and how they are metabolized. Such data will reduce idiosyncratic reactions to drugs. These were the opinions of panelists at a presentation called "Developing Prescriptions with a Personal Touch: The Human G
Plant Sex: Pollen Tubes on the Move
Plant Sex: Pollen Tubes on the Move
Mae West said that anything worth doing is worth doing slowly. Plants would probably agree, if they could. Courtship in flowering plants begins when pollen lands on the receptive surface (stigma) of a carpel, the female part of the flower. The ensuing dance of biochemical signals and responses culminates in the flower's decision to accept or reject the suitor. A variety of molecules have been implicated in the recognition process, including flavanols, lipids, and receptor kinases.1,2 If the in
AAAS Roundup
AAAS Roundup
Editor's Note: The news items on this page all originated from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 21-26. Mars: Future homestead? NASA's Astrobiology Institute revealed its definition of astrobiology and a road map of research directions, about six months after its inaugural gathering.1 "Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe, an attempt to answer some of the fundamental questions that have been with us for a long time--ho

Commentary

From Photostats to Home Pages on the World Wide Web: A Tutorial on How to Create Your Electronic Archive
From Photostats to Home Pages on the World Wide Web: A Tutorial on How to Create Your Electronic Archive
It was Derek De Solla Price who in 1963 said that "80 to 90 percent of all the scientists that have ever lived are alive now."1 While De Solla died just 20 years later, most of his contemporaries have survived. A majority of these researchers were, at one time or another, readers of Current Contents (CC). The success of CC was due to three critical factors--timeliness, its multidisciplinary nature, and access to author addresses. Its address directory was estimated at one time to generate as

Letter

Targeting p53
Targeting p53
The article "Taking Aim at p53: Researchers are Targeting the Tumor Suppressor with Vectors, Viruses, and Small Molecules"1 I believe, has an unintentional inaccuracy. The article suggests that in Ras-induced cancers, p53 therapy, i.e., using p53-mediated apoptosis, to kill the cancerous cells is a viable strategy. However, there is a report in the journal Science2 that provides evidence that in Ras-transformed p53-/- mouse embryo fibroblasts, the cells undergo apoptosis when the transcription
Breakthroughs and Breakthroughs
Breakthroughs and Breakthroughs
Barry Palevitz's and Ricki Lewis's article about scientific breakthroughs1 raises important issues. The authors give many examples of overconfidence from journalists. They refer to talks from the Breakthrough! conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for scientists and journalists.2 They also discuss the Worlds Apart study from the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.3 At the end of their article, speaking about distrust between scientists and journalists, they ponder,
Roots of Pain
Roots of Pain
Your article "Getting at the Molecular Roots of Pain"1 was adequate for introducing a very important topic: pain. The molecular origination for understanding and controlling pain, however, overlooks the most important aspects of pain. Pain is created by discrepancies in multiple channels of information. Pain can be psychological. Pain can be ignored due to lack of attention. Pain can be created by a simple picture2 in about 10 percent of people. It is well known that some soldiers wounded in co

Opinion

Opening the Doors to Advocacy
Opening the Doors to Advocacy
Mark Rosenberg's words aptly describe the mentality of the 435 Project™, an effort introduced to many readers of The Scientist 19 months ago.1 My opening paragraph in that summer article read, "There is a challenge that faces the entire scientific community .... [t]he opportunity to strengthen the call for doubling the United States' commitment to medical research looms larger than ever. It is time for the scientific community to elevate its advocacy, with a unified voice, to a volume not

Research

Research Turns Another 'Fact' into Myth
Research Turns Another 'Fact' into Myth
Above is a confocal image of new neurons in the dentate gyrus of the macaque monkey. Collaborators at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., and the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, under the direction of Salk professor Fred H. Gage, recently reported newly formed neurons in the hippocampi of adult humans.1,2 The announcement that neurogenesis-- through which new neurons live and die in the brain well into the later years of adulthood--has been disco

Hot Paper

Genomics
Genomics
Edited by: Steve Bunk and Eugene Russo G. Lennon, C. Auffray, M. Polymeropoulos, M.B. Soares, "The I.M.A.G.E. Consortium: An Integrated Molecular Analysis of Genomes and Their Expression," Genomics, 33:151-2, 1996. (Cited in more than 290 papers since publication) Comments by Greg Lennon, chief scientific officer at Gene Logic in Gaithersburg, Md. If there were a Book of Genesis for genetics, perhaps it would begin with Data, that begets Information, that begets Knowledge, that begets those sa
AIDS
AIDS
Edited by: Steve Bunk and Eugene Russo S.M. Hammer, D.A. Katzenstein, M.D. Hughes, H. Gundacker, R.T. Schooley, R.H. Haubrich, W.K. Henry, M.M. Lederman, J.P. Phair, M. Niu, M.S. Hirsch, T.C. Merigan, "A trial comparing nucleoside monotherapy with combination therapy in HIV-infected adults with CD4 cell counts from 200 to 500 per cubic millimeter," The New England Journal of Medicine, 335:1081-90, 1996. (Cited in more than 200 papers since publication) Comments by David A. Katzenstein, associa

Profession

Scholars and Entrepreneurs: Succeeding in the Science Biz
Scholars and Entrepreneurs: Succeeding in the Science Biz
"It's like a cancer in the body of science," says Yuri Lazebnik of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. "If we don't take care of it, it will only get worse." The cancer, in Lazebnik's opinion, is the runaway commercialization of science. As researchers increasingly view their discoveries as potential blockbuster products, and new biotech companies spring up as fast as weeds along the intellectual highway, some academic scientists may be becoming more guarded about sharing their reag

Technology

Cell Culture In A Chip
Cell Culture In A Chip
Bellco Glass, Inc., has recently been licensed to manufacture and distribute the newly patented GenesisChip. The GenesisChip is the latest creation of Mark Lyles, winner of the Mind Science Award for his invention of ceramic polymer dental fillings. Lyles's latest venture is the application of glass and ceramic polymers to cell culture scaffolds. His patented PRIMM (Polymer Rigid Inorganic Matrix Material) resolves one of the important problems that interferes with cell growth in plastic scaffo
Run, Don't Walk
Run, Don't Walk
System speeds up the pace of sequencing Schematic of New England Biolab's Genome Priming System Transposons are nothing new to molecular biologists--they have been used since the early 1970s for creating mutations, as well as for moving sequences from place to place in vivo. In the Genome Priming System (GPS™), New England BioLabs (NEB) has developed a novel, in vitro application of transposons for the production of sequencing templates. GPS replaces primer walking, nested deletions, an
Getting Started
Getting Started
a clear, comprehensive guide to lab life Author: Laura DeFrancesco Date: February 15, 1999Excerpt from At The Bench Book cover illustration from At The Bench Being a newcomer to a laboratory can be a daunting and, at times, frustrating experience. And while it is the rare grad student who hasn't gotten her hands wet in a laboratory, entering into the profession as a grad student or research technician is different--the stakes, the expectations, the demands are all raised a notch. What Kathy B

Technology Profile

High-Throughput Technology Picks Up Steam
High-Throughput Technology Picks Up Steam
There's no stopping this train. High-throughput sample processing has become the hot topic in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Clearly, the demands for faster, more efficient, and cheaper methods of drug discovery have taken the forefront as automated assays move from 96 to 386 and higher density microplates. In turn, faster and faster methods to process these plates follow. For example, in a recent press release, Zymark Corporation of Hopkinton, Mass., announced the successful
Automated Laboratories
Automated Laboratories
Date: February 15, 1999Table of Robotic Liquid Handler Manufacturers and Table of Pipetting Robots Cytotoxicity studies, ELISA assays, apoptosis assays, peptide library screening--these and many other assays are now performed without human intervention by automated liquid handling systems. Continuing evolution of these machines has produced some very capable and powerful robots, increasing assay throughput to dramatic levels. In this profile, LabConsumer examines the automated liquid handler
Building The Perfect Beast
Building The Perfect Beast
Date: February 15, 1999Enhanced PCR Kits and Reagents Sigma's RedTaq DNA Polymerase facilitates gel loading. During the past decade, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has become one of the most versatile tools used in the molecular biology laboratory. Applications range from the analysis of genomic DNA samples and the production of DNA fragments for cloning systems to direct DNA sequencing. The reaction requires a minimum of reagents and equipment compared to many lab protocols and can be se

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Editor's Note: The news items on this page all originated from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 21-26. PLAQUE ATTACK A host of studies have bitten off the task of linking periodontitis with coronary heart disease. But without more evidence, scientists may find any cause-and-effect relationship between tooth disease and heart attacks hard to swallow, admitted James D. Beck, professor of dental ecology, at the University of North Caro