July 2000

News

Sink or Swim ... or Glide
Sink or Swim ... or Glide
Photo: John CalambokidisA blue whale diving off the coast of Northern California. Whales, dolphins, and seals seem to defy reality with every deep dive into the big blue. They descend tens to hundreds of meters and, despite limited oxygen, can stay submerged for 30 minutes or more. How they achieve these feats has mystified oceanic observers since physiological studies first began some 70 years ago. During the last several years, a team of researchers headed by Terrie M. Williams, profess
Reevaluating Sex Reassignment
Reevaluating Sex Reassignment
Graphic: Cathleen Heard Results of two studies from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center challenge accepted medical practice of "sex reassignment"--surgically converting XY males with absent or minuscule penises into anatomical females, then raising them as girls. The investigations, which are the first to go beyond individual case reports, reveal outcomes that are remarkably consistent with rare instances of infants who lost their penises in accidents and who were reassigned as females. Both cli
Shamans vs. Synthetics
Shamans vs. Synthetics
Photo courtesy of David G. Kingston From left, Kim Wright; a tribal healer (name unknown); and Frits Van Troon, a Suriname ethnobotanist, examine a medicinal plant. In his new book, Medicine Quest,1 ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin describes a plant that forest dwellers in Suriname, on the northern coast of South America, call nekoe. They crush its stems and sprinkle them on streams to stun fish. The local Maroons, who are descendants of 17th century slaves of the Dutch, claim that tapirs eat neko
Back to the Basics
Back to the Basics
Exciting preclinical data have led scientists to a search for a "bypass in a test tube," a drug that stimulates the growth of blood vessels. However, efforts in the past year to stimulate angiogenesis in patients have been discouraging. "We need to go back to the lab and do some more preclinical experiments and gain a better understanding of the mechanism," says Napoleone Ferrara of the department of molecular oncology at Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif. When the leg or heart a
News Notes
News Notes
Career Development Advice "Every research scientist needs to develop leadership skills." This was the take-home message of a breakfast seminar cosponsored by The Scientist and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute for attendees of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics meeting in Boston, June 6. The seminar panel consisted of Michelle Graham, director of leadership development and strategic plan

Commentary

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
Eugene Garfield Our reader surveys indicate that "Hot Papers" is one of our most popular editorial features. When and how did it begin? After the Science Citation Index was launched in the '60s, we soon learned that the age of the average cited paper, depending upon the field, was 5 to 15 years old. In molecular biology, while 25 percent of cited papers were about 2 years old, the rest were much older. These data initially obscured the fact that a small group of papers were well ci

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Cartoon
Cartoon
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Letter

Career Outcomes
Career Outcomes
Regarding your "Career Outcomes" Opinion article,1 it may be worth noting that the period of time covered in this study coincided with the emergence of interdisciplinary fields merging biology with more traditionally quantitative disciplines: bioengineering, biophysics, and computational biology. This has had a couple of consequences. One is that some faculty positions in traditional life science departments have been taken by individuals whose advanced degrees are in engineering and physical sc
More on Mid-America
More on Mid-America
In addition to what was in your Mid-America article,1 the very first land grant institution in America, Kansas State University, in Manhattan, is home to premier research laboratories conducting cutting-edge research on cancer to genetics to plant transformations to animal science and veterinary medicine to molecular biology. We offer outstanding employment and research opportunities in the life sciences, especially agricultural sciences, and Manhattan is also home to U.S. Department of Agricult

Research

Circadian Rhythm Homology and Divergence
Circadian Rhythm Homology and Divergence
Courtesy of ScienceThe fruit fly circadian cycle shares three strong similarities with the mammalian: the per gene itself, CLOCK and BMAL regulation of per, and a gene called tau in hamsters and double-time (dbt) in flies, both of which encode the enzyme CKI*. Molecular biologists have been teasing apart the intricate innards of organisms' biological clocks for decades, gaining rare insight into a veritable bridge between genes and behavior. Those clocks' circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles t
Research Notes
Research Notes
Bovine Hemoglobin Makes a Spectacular Save Time was running out for the 21-year-old whose immune system was inexplicably and relentlessly destroying her red blood cells. After 45 days, with her organs failing, physicians from Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., tried a last resort: bovine hemoglobin. And it worked (J. Mullon et al., "Transfusions of polymerized bovine hemoglobin in a patient with severe auto

Hot Paper

Leptin or 'Pubertin'?
Leptin or 'Pubertin'?
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Philippe Froguel, a professor of genetics and nutrition at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. 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.   K. Clement, C. Vaisse, N. Lahlou, S. Cabrol, V. Pelloux, D. Cassuto, M. Gourmelen, C. Dina, J. Chambaz, J.M. Lacorte, A. Basdevant, P. Bougneres, Y. Lebouc, P. Froguel, B. Guy-Grand, "A mutation in the
Calcineurin and Cardiac Disease
Calcineurin and Cardiac Disease
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Eric N. Olson, chair of molecular biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. 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. J.D. Molkentin, J.R. Lu, C.L. Antos, B. Markham, J. Richardson, J. Robbins, S.R. Grant, E.N. Olson, "A calcineurin-dependent transcriptional pathway for cardiac hypertrophy," Cell, 93: 215-28,

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Spin City Stratagene of La Jolla, Calif., is offering 25 percent off its StrataPrep(r) Total RNA Microprep Kit until September 30, 2000. The kit isolates high-quality total RNA from small quantities of cultured cells using a spin-cup format. The rapid procedure does not require phenol/chloroform extraction or ethanol precipitation. An optional on-column DNA removal step prepares samples for RT-PCR The list price for the kit is $179.00 for 50 preps; the discounted price is $134.25. To receive t

Technology

Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue
GenomicsOne's TrueBlue Cloning Scheme For the past two decades, cloners have relied on lacZ*-based color selection vectors to identify cloned inserts. These systems are based on the insertional inactivation of the lacZ* gene fragment and are (deceptively) simple. The lacZ gene encodes the ß-galactosidase (ßGal) protein, which acts on an indicator substrate to produce blue colonies. Thus, in a cloning experiment, white colonies indicate that the DNA of interest has been inserted into t
A Finer Point
A Finer Point
After application of Pinpoint Solution, the selected area is transferred to a spin column for RNA purification. The beauty of science is to make things simple," says Larry Jia, president of Orange, Calif.-based Zymo Research. Applying this philosophy to the purification of RNA, Jia and his team of researchers have developed the Pinpoint Slide RNA Isolation System. The system offers a simple method for isolating total RNA directly from selected areas of tissue sections on microscope slides. The r

Technology Profile

At the Speed of Light
At the Speed of Light
High-Throughput Fluorescence Products High-Throughput Fluorescence Products (continued) PE Biosystems' FMAT 8100 HTS system Efforts by biopharmaceutical and academic laboratories to screen very large synthetic or natural compound libraries have inspired development of new and diverse forms of fluorescence technology suitable for ultrafast quantification, or high-throughput screening (HTS). This article will review the assays and instruments behind this high-speed chase. But before jumping in
Hot Pursuit
Hot Pursuit
Photo: Amy FrancisTerry Weber, research technician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, uses radioisotopes to label probes for chromosomal mapping studies. Edwin M. Southern's 1975 paper, "Detection of specific sequences among DNA fragments separated by gel electrophoresis," described one of the landmark advances in early molecular biology. A new era was dawning as it suddenly became possible to detect specific sequences among the thousands of fragments produced by a restriction digest

Profession

The 'Where' Factor, Part V
The 'Where' Factor, Part V
Jobs in the northwest: Just a Sampling Graphic: Cathleen Heard Editor's Note: This is the last installment of our five-part series on geographic issues that affect job hunting for life scientists. We will cover the Northwest and Alaska. Our boundaries may not be a true geographer's boundaries, but for our purposes, this area includes Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. The Northwest is characterized by a few big cities in a sea of sparsely populated countryside, contrasting

Opinion

Distinguishing 'Good' Science from 'Good Enough' Science
Distinguishing 'Good' Science from 'Good Enough' Science
Most of us would have little trouble labeling the likes of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or Richard Feynman "great" scientists. But when you stop to analyze what makes a great or even a good scientist, you immediately become aware of the complexities and complications of such an evaluation. Great scientists are those who in their lifetimes or afterward have an impact on large segments of a discipline--the wider-ranging the impact, the "greater" the scientist. Darwin and Einstein have i