News

Gene Pool Expeditions
Gene Pool Expeditions
A good gene pool, like love, is where you find it. Now genomics researchers have two new ones to swoon over: one from Estonia, a crossroads of Scandinavian cultures and the northernmost of the former Soviet Union's Baltic republics; and from Tonga, an island kingdom half a world away where a Polynesian people has lived in near-perfect isolation for close to 3,500 years. Tonga and Estonia laid final plans last November and December, respectively, for national gene pool exploration programs aimed
The Institute Different
The Institute Different
Courtesy Santa Fe InstituteThe Santa Fe Institute, situated in the hills above Santa Fe, N.M. Even its interior design serves the unusual purpose of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). At the top of a winding drive on the outskirts of the New Mexico capital that calls itself "the city different," SFI occupies a 1950s hacienda defined by three descending "pods." First is reception and administration. Second is a community area, full of comfortable furniture, with big views of the city and mountains. C
New Center for Biomedical Technology
New Center for Biomedical Technology
Stewart Bros. Photographers, Inc. Future site of the HHMI's collaborative research campus. New laboratories will be located in the lower left; the institute will occupy portions of the three office buildings pictured to the right. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation's largest privately held funder of biomedical research, has announced plans to build a major new high-tech laboratory facility. The 10-year, $500 million plan includes a biomedical science center for technology developme
From Buckyballs to Nanotubes
From Buckyballs to Nanotubes
Photos © Michael Davidson and The Florida State University These photos show the 60-carbon alkene buckminsterfullerene ("buckyballs"). This substance joins graphite and diamond as a third form of carbon molecule. Technology sometimes derives from clever combinations of tools. Merging immune system cells with cancer cells led to the hybridoma technology that produces monoclonal antibodies. A recipe of restriction enzymes, plasmids, and DNA underlies recombinant DNA and transgenic technologi
News Notes
News Notes
Cell Engineering at Hopkins Already a hub for stem cell research, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has announced plans for a new center to focus on selecting and modifying human cells. Called the Institute for Cell Engineering (ICE), the 40,000 square foot building will be funded through a $58.5 million private, anonymously made donation. Hopkins faculty announced the new project at a January 30 press conference. "What we're interested in really is reprogramming cells and puttin
Negotiating the Human Genome
Negotiating the Human Genome
On February 12, amid considerable international fanfare, Rockville, Md.-based Celera Genomics and the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium jointly announced the publishing of long-awaited papers detailing the human genome.1,2. Although the two groups jointly announced the sequencing of about 90 percent of the human genome at a White House press conference last June, drawn-out negotiations delayed the publishing of initial genome data until now. "It would be fair to say that Palestini

Letter

The Scientist Connection
The Scientist Connection
I am writing to you to make you aware of an extremely positive outcome resulting from your journal's 1999 story on researching heavy metal contamination in arctic whales, by A.J.S. Rayl.1 The content of the story led to inquiries from other scientists around the country interested in global oceanic toxicology. John Wise of Yale University and others contacted me, and as a result, a network of researchers is beginning to form to address, in a global manner, the seriousness of our situation. �
Scientist, Speak Up: Four Views
Scientist, Speak Up: Four Views
One As Mary Woolley stated,1 it is long overdue for scientists to talk to and communicate with nonscientists. I agree that science will greatly benefit from letting the general public know more about what scientists do. I also agree that we cannot rely entirely on science writers and journalists to interpret science to the general public. Scientists themselves have to do so. I especially like the response to the inquiry to scientists, "What do you do?" I agree that a confident "I work for you

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Commentary

The Devil in the Details
The Devil in the Details
The devil, as the old saying goes, is in the details. Or, in the case of the new Estonian law setting up a national genetic data bank, there is reason for concern that the devil may get involved in the actual workings of that country's Human Gene Research Act (See "Gene Pool Expeditions," page 1). The authors of the 34-section act have made a serious effort to prevent misuse of the data and to protect gene donors' rights and privacy. Participation in the project is strictly voluntary, on

Research

The Real Survivors
The Real Survivors
Supplementary article not published in the printed edition of The Scientist. Sea otters once cavorted all along the rim of the Northern Pacific, from Japan across the Arctic and down to Baja California, and their total population was estimated as high as 300,000. Today, only small populations of sea otters remain along the Pacific shorelines from central California to Alaska, and along the coasts of Russia. A member of the weasel family (Mustelidae), the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) averages abou
Researchers Focus on Sea Otter Deaths
Researchers Focus on Sea Otter Deaths
Photos courtesy of Jeff Foott In trouble? The sea otter is dying, from parasitic diseases for which the only known hosts are terrestrial mammals. Something is killing sea otters that live along the northern California shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 1,000 have been found dead along the coastline over the past five years. Given that the total otter population at any one time is probably well below 3,000 animals, this appears to be a high rate of mortality, especially considering that as m
Research Notes
Research Notes
Courtesy University of California, San Diego Top, five genes convert leaves to petals; bottom, only four genes are needed to convert leaves to petals Leaves into Petals In what just might be the botanical equivalent to the ancient alchemist's dream of transmuting iron into gold, biologists have discovered how to genetically convert the leaves of flowering plants into petals, an achievement that holds commercial as well as scientific implications (S. Pelaz et al., "Conversion of leaves into pet

Hot Paper

Interpreting the Signaling of Notch
Interpreting the Signaling of Notch
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Mark E. Fortini, an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Pennsylvania, Iva Greenwald, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biochemistry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Raphael Kopan, an associate professor of molecular biology and pharmacology at Washington University in St. Louis, and Michael Wolfe, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. Data from the Web

Technology

GeneSystem320: It's all the RAGE
GeneSystem320: It's all the RAGE
The patterns of gene expression can help determine what makes a neuron different in form and function from a lymphocyte and how each responds to external stimuli. Ascertaining these patterns during development or in the course of disease is now more common and has a higher level of importance than ever before. Conventional techniques for determining changes in gene expression include Northern blots, serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), and cDNA microarrays. RAGE, (rapid analysis of
Visually Appealing
Visually Appealing
As genetic mapping of species proceeds at a near explosive pace, new tools are being offered to manage this genetic data. Redasoft Software of Toronto recently released Visual Cloning 2000 (VC2000), a Windows-based program for genetic map creation and DNA sequence analysis. The program provides what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) graphics and tight integration with Internet databases. Redasoft's earlier program, Plasmid, was the first genetic mapping program with close integration to t

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Fast Extraction Geno Technology's GeneCapsule Geno Technology Inc. of St. Louis introduces GeneCapsule(tm), a single-use system for recovery of DNA, RNA, and protein, from electrophoresis gels by electroelution. The two- component GeneCapsule permits extraction of 1,000-bp DNA fragments in just 60 seconds. Recovered DNA can then be used in a variety of molecular biology applications. Geno Technology Inc, (314) 645-2050, www.genotech.com Go West(ern) UVP Inc. of Upland, Calif., introduces the

Technology Profile

Most Competent for the Job
Most Competent for the Job
Available Competent Cell Lines Invitrogen's One Shot Kit Researchers looking for the ideal competent cell are faced with an interesting dilemma. While there is a vast market of special-function hosts that exhibit a variety and combination of mutations,1 scientists must choose carefully to take full advantage of the options and maintain the increased control that these hosts can provide. In such a market, the genotype says it all. These days, even most of the basic cloning strains are improved
Phosphoprotein-Specific Antibodies
Phosphoprotein-Specific Antibodies
Forty-six years ago, Edwin Krebs and colleagues changed the way researchers understood the regulation of protein activity. In a landmark paper, these authors described the regulation of glycogen phosphorylase by attachment of a phosphate group.1 Four years later, these same authors discovered that this phosphorylation event was mediated by the enzyme glycogen phosphorylase kinase (kinases are enzymes that catalyze the transfer of a phosphate group from ATP to a substrate protein).2 And nine year

Profession

Regional Hot Spots: Part I
Regional Hot Spots: Part I
Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a four-part series on regional hot spots for life sciences employment. Additional installments will appear in the May 14, July 9, and October 29 issues. The next article will focus on the San Francisco Bay area. Boston Area Life Science 12-Month Hiring Intent Please come to Boston," pleads the singer. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms in the Boston area sing the same tune as they woo prospective employees to fill jobs at all levels. Ernst &a
Applying Genomics
Applying Genomics
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recently launched a $37 million grant initiative to advance genomics research. This initiative consists of 11 Programs for Genomic Applications (PGAs) aimed at applying and expanding the data and technologies developed to map and sequence the human genome. The NHLBI considers this initiative one of its most ambitious to date, given that the goal is to identify the subsets of genes linked to heart, lung, blood, and sleep function, and to utili
Job-Hunting Techniques
Job-Hunting Techniques
In the Information Age, it might be tempting to think of job hunting as a kind of point and click trip down the information superhighway. Calling up a near endless number of Web sites, such as hotjobs.com, monster.com, BioMedNet, Genome Jobs, or Bio Online, E-mailing a resume and cover letter, and waiting for a response may seem an appropriate tactic. However, interviews with recent job seekers, employers hiring scientists, as well as those in the job-hunting profession offer a rather somewhat o
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Partnership to Test Vaccine Candidates Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center Mary R. Galinski A new partnership forming between Emory University's Vaccine Research Center in Atlanta and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) in Rockville, Md., will enable the testing of several vaccine candidates developed by institutions worldwide. MVI, which is part of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Seattle that conducts health programs globally, will sponsor the effort. Mary R. Galinski, of the
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

The Cutting Edge of Cutting Calories
The Cutting Edge of Cutting Calories
Illustration: A. Canamucio The sad truth is that we're a bunch of fatsos, and getting fatter. Sixty-one percent of adults are now overweight, an all-time high, and more than a quarter are actually obese, or grossly overweight, according to the 1999 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while we get fatter and suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol in record numbers, federal regulators are drastically limit