News

NIH Jumps Into Genetic Variation Research
NIH Jumps Into Genetic Variation Research
The field is given a boost by a widening of focus at the institutes as well as a report praising a major initiative. During the brief earthly tenure of the species Homo sapiens, the human genome seems to have accumulated just the right amount of variation to suit the purposes of geneticists. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the DNA bases that vary systematically between subpopulations, are common enough to serve usefully as chromosomal markers but not so common as to make genetic analys
D Dollars
D Dollars
SEARCHING FOR IDENTITY: USDA Undersecretary Mylie Gonzalez wants to give the agency a higher research profile. Image is everything for federal agencies that compete for a frozen pool of research dollars. Congress associates the National Institutes of Health with cancer cures, the National Science Foundation with sound basic research, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with subsidies, according to USDA officials. Although USDA will spend $1.6 billion on basic and applied re
'Cosmeceuticals' Spur Research But Worry FDA
'Cosmeceuticals' Spur Research But Worry FDA
Photo: John Wang ETHNOBOTANY: This Ava puhi Mohi plant will provide an ingredient for a Nu Skin cosmeticeutical to be launched in March. America's fascination with youth and physical beauty has prompted a rise in the development over recent years of "high-performance" cosmetics containing bioactive ingredients for skin damaged by the effects of sun and aging. Companies that produce personal-care products now are seeking new bioactive ingredients and new delivery system technologies. This deman
Magazines In Improbable, And Perhaps Irreproducible, Clash
Magazines In Improbable, And Perhaps Irreproducible, Clash
Imagine it as F. Lee Bailey meets Albert Einstein, with David Letterman hovering in the background. The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) and the Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR), two of a handful of publications that take an intentionally humorous view of science and scientists, are moving slowly toward a date in court. George H. Scherr, publisher of JIR, is suing Marc Abrahams, editor of AIR, and Improbable Research Inc., AIR's parent company, for what Scherr claims is unfair competi

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
Genetically Altered Mice, capable of understanding rudimentary sitcoms.

Opinion

Decade-Long Legal Battle Focused On Journal Cost, Impact
Decade-Long Legal Battle Focused On Journal Cost, Impact
Editor's Note: For the past two decades, librarians have used citation data to rank journals. When library budgets were seemingly unlimited, journals published both by nonprofit professional societies and by for-profit publishers were purchased, often regardless of their intrinsic value or cost-effectiveness. In the past decade, under severe budget constraints, university librarians-with the advice of faculty-have had to "de-accession" hundreds of journals that, by one test or another, could

Letter

Surgical Anatomy
Surgical Anatomy
I read with both amusement and astonishment Ricki Lewis's recent article concerning the use of animal dissection as a method of teaching anatomy (The Scientist, Nov. 10, 1997, page 13). It is not only sad but also ironic that in an era of great technological advances and scientific breakthroughs, traditional anatomical dissection is being viewed as "totally unnecessary," according to Nedim C. Buyukmihci's comments in the article. While it is true that alternative teaching methods exist to conv
Women in Science
Women in Science
I wish to congratulate the staff of The Scientist for its Nov. 24, 1997, issue (Vol. 11, No. 23), which focused on women in science. I also appreciate recent issues that contained useful articles ("Profession" section) relating to faculty development. Steve Bunk's front-page article, "Policies To Stop Tenure Clock Support Family Life," mentioned Margaret Kripke, chairwoman of the department of immunology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She is a 1996-97 fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Execut

Commentary

An Outright, Upfront Condemnation Of Cloning Research Is Premature
An Outright, Upfront Condemnation Of Cloning Research Is Premature
"The more knowledge, the more distress," says the Talmud. How true that seems for the field of genetics. As soon as advances in laboratory animals are announced, the news is used to forecast a revolution in human reproduction: Let's make genetically ideal babies, let's clone human copies, let's make headless fetuses for transplantable spare parts. Biology has become a convenient target for moralists and politicians who condemn science and are eager to ban new experimentation. "To benefit from

Research

Dendritic Cells Offer Potential Treatments For Cancer, HIV
Dendritic Cells Offer Potential Treatments For Cancer, HIV
HIV STUDIES: Rockefeller's Melissa Pope is investigating dendritic cell-T cell fusions with an eye toward potential strategies for interrupting HIV replication. Dendritic cells-highly specialized immune-system cells that can trigger T cells to fight infections-are being intensively studied as potential cancer vaccines. Researchers also are investigating these cells to understand their role in initiating HIV infection and for possible use in a vaccine for HIV. Dendritic cells are found in almo

Hot Paper

Cell Biology
Cell Biology
Edited by: Stephen P. Hoffert D.S. Weigle, T.R. Buchowski, D.C. Foster, S. Holderman, J.M. Kramer, G. Lasser, C.E. Lofton-Day, D.E. Prunkard, C. Raymond, J.L. Kuijper, "Recombinant ob protein reduces feeding and body weight in the ob/ob mouse," Journal of Clinical Investigation, 96:2065-70, 1995. (Cited in more than 110 publications to date) Comments by D. Scott Weigle, department of medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle A FULL FEELING: Washington's D. Scott Weigle d
Neurology
Neurology
Edited by: Stephen P. Hoffert R.G. Will, J.W. Ironside, M. Zeidler, S.N. Cousens, K. Estibeiro, A. Alperovitch, S. Poser, M. Pocchiari, A. Hofman, P.G. Smith, "A new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the U.K.," Lancet, 347:921-5, 1996. (Cited in more than 230 publications to date) Comments by R.G. Will, National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit, Edinburgh, Scotland On Aug. 1, 1996, an international research team sent scientific, economic, and political shock waves throughout

Profession

Proposal Writing Specialists Offer Suggestions For Success
Proposal Writing Specialists Offer Suggestions For Success
The odds of writing a successful grant proposal are long these days. The Office of Extramural Research of the National Institutes of Health reports that the number of competing grants applications rose sharply-from 20,406 to 25,510-between 1985 and 1994. But the number of awards actually decreased from 6,752 in 1985 to 6,474 in 1994. Now more than ever, researchers applying for grants face intense competition. Professionals who help researchers write grant proposals say there are several thing

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
A Notebook item entitled "Royal Tribute To Science" (The Scientist, Jan. 5, 1998, page 31) contained incorrect information about the drugs cerulenin and ivermectin. Cerulenin is an antibiotic, while ivermectin is an antiparasitic. Ivermectin is widely used in treating onchocerciasis (river blindness).

Technology

Easy Yeast Transformations with the Frozen-EZ Yeast Transformation Kit(TM) from Zymo Research
Easy Yeast Transformations with the Frozen-EZ Yeast Transformation Kit(TM) from Zymo Research
Most of the widely used protocols for transforming yeast cells generally call for the preparation of fresh competent cells for each procedure. These preparations usually take two or three days, eating up valuable research time and creating some frustration with each new batch. There ought to be a better way. Zymo Research of Orange, California, has come to the rescue with its Frozen-EZ Yeast Transformation Kit. Compatible with S. cerevisiae, S. pombe, C. albicans, and Pichia pastoris, the Froze
Mr. Green Genes: MetaGFP(TM) from Universal Imaging Corporation Allows Quantification of Fluorescent Probes
Mr. Green Genes: MetaGFP(TM) from Universal Imaging Corporation Allows Quantification of Fluorescent Probes
The use of green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria to monitor gene expression both in situ and in vivo has grabbed the biotechnology spotlight since this application was reported almost four years ago (M. Chalfie et al., Science 263:802-805, 1994). Biologists could ask for no simpler tool; GFP's bright green fluorescence stems from its inherent chromophore structure and needs no substrate or cofactors, only exposure to UV or blue light. Along with wild-type GFP, sev
Let the Field Be With You: Advanced Biomagnetic Separation System with Sigris Research Inc's MixSep
Let the Field Be With You: Advanced Biomagnetic Separation System with Sigris Research Inc's MixSep
Magnetic separation of biomolecules and cells is finding increasing applications in both research and clinical laboratories because of its speed, simplicity, and low cost. Now the process has become even simpler and more efficient with the novel MixSep biomagnetic separation system offered by Sigris Research, Inc., of Brea, California. The MixSep combines mixing and separation in a single, compact instrument featuring a proprietary technology that generates a rotating magnetic field. Unlike mos

Technology Profile

Spinning Up To Speed: A Profile of Nonrefrigerated Microcentrifuges
Spinning Up To Speed: A Profile of Nonrefrigerated Microcentrifuges
Date: January 19, 1998 Chart 1 Chart 2 Chart 3 They sometimes go by different names. Be it an "air-cooled," "ambient," "ventilated," or "nonrefrigerated" model, they are all the same thing: a microcentrifuge that gets cold only in the cold room. Useful and popular, there are plenty of nonrefrigerated microcentrifuges to choose from across a spectrum of styles, features,, and prices. LabConsumer contacted 19 manufacturers and dealers of nearly 50 nonrefrigerated microcentrifuges in compiling dat
A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It
Flow cytometry instruments analyze suspensions of single cells by focusing them hydrodynamically in a columnar stream and causing them to flow past a point or points in the stream where lasers have been focused. As each cell passes through the point of excitation, it scatters the laser light, and if it is appropriately stained, it will also fluoresce. Sensors collect both the scattered light and fluorescence, and based on the timing of the pulses, the collected signals can be identified with an
Cell Cycle Tools: A Portfolio of Kits and Products for Cell Cycle Research
Cell Cycle Tools: A Portfolio of Kits and Products for Cell Cycle Research
Cancer, the scourge of the 20th century, is in its most basic form the uncontrolled proliferation of invasive cells as a consequence of perturbations in the genetic and biochemical processes of a normal cell cycle. Deciphering the molecular, genetic, biochemical, and physiological aspects of this process in normal and abnormal cells has received much impetus these past two decades, as researchers seek to understand the nature of cancer, apoptosis, cell differentiation, and tissue regeneration.

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
RECORD DONORS: U.S. Healthcare founder Leonard Abramsom and his wife, Madlyn, a cancer survivor, donated $100 million to create a new cancer research center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Photo: Courtesy Bruce Wemger INJECTION INNOVATION: A young patient shows some apprehension as a needle-free injector device is placed against her arm prior to firing. Remember the terror you felt as a child when you went to the doctor for a vaccination? These days, docto