Frontlines

Frontlines
Frontlines
Frontlines Image: Erica Johnson Damage control Researchers have found that inosine, a naturally occurring nucleoside whose levels are elevated in the brain following trauma, can induce axonal reorganization following a stroke and improve the performance of several sensorimotor tasks (P. Chen et al., "Inosine induces axonal rewiring and improves behavioral outcome after stroke," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99:9031-6, June 25, 2002). A stroke can cause massive damage to t

Commentary

Open Access, High Ambitions
Open Access, High Ambitions
Open Access, High Ambitions By Richard Gallagher   Fueled by scientists' resentment at perceived exploitation by established publishers, and driven by new opportunities in information technology, open access publishing burst onto the scene in biomedicine about five years ago. Most readers of The Scientist will be aware of the principal, two-part, argument in its favor, namely that: Maximum dissemination of properly peer-reviewed research is good for authors, good for funders, and, mos

Opinion

Take Therapeutic Cloning Forward
Take Therapeutic Cloning Forward
What will the US Senate actually do about therapeutic cloning--the procedure of using nuclear transfer to derive embryonic stem cells?

Letter

Pew on Pew
Pew on Pew
Pew on Pew Regarding the Opinion by Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko on genetically engineered foods,1 their criticisms of our recent report on food allergenicity research and our other efforts to promote dialogue and consensus on agricultural biotechnology issues are off the mark. Miller and Conko argue that the report2 reflects an "antibiotechnology" bias because it fails to stress that conventionally processed novel foods can also pose food allergy risks. Actually, the report discusses

News

Sensing Evil
Sensing Evil
Worst-case scenarios don't come much uglier than the plume of an aerosolized biowarfare agent infiltrating a city. What happens then? Do alarms ring, evacuations and vaccinations begin? Or will anyone even know what the cloud contains? The answer could depend on efforts to improve molecular recognition systems that identify biowarfare agents in the air, water, or food. Problems of accuracy and efficiency that have dogged such technologies for decades are approaching resolution, but even then,
Insights for Conservation
Insights for Conservation
Like some coevolutionary SWAT team, John Thompson, Bradley Cunningham, and colleagues have headed out every spring and summer for the last decade to the wilds of western Idaho and bordering areas in Oregon and Washington to camp out and infiltrate the world of the prairie starflower, Lithophragma parviflorum, and a little gray moth known as Greya politella. Now, their published rare case study in coevolution describes how the two species have coevolved in a variety of habitats, from open grass
Planning the Future of Plant Genomics
Planning the Future of Plant Genomics
Image: Courtesy of National Sciences Foundation Arabidopsis Plant genomics researchers stand at a crossroads. Behind them are the completed genome sequences of rice1 and the model mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana.2 Now, armed with insights gained from both plant and animal sequencing projects, plant biologists must decide how to proceed with future sequencing, proteomics, and functional genomics endeavors--and how to allot precious basic research dollars while, at the same time, keeping
Legal Issues in the Lab
Legal Issues in the Lab
Genentech, the South San Francisco, Calif., biotech powerhouse, suffered a legal setback in June when a court ordered the company to pay more than $500 million (US) in damages to the nonprofit City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif. A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury ruled that Genentech breached a 1976 contract with the institution when the company failed to pay the cancer center royalties from numerous third-party licenses that the company fraudulently concealed. In 197
New Patent Worries Professors
New Patent Worries Professors
A new patent on disease treatments that operate through a key biological trigger, the NF-kB messenger protein, has lawyers, university researchers, and technology transfer officers bracing for an intellectual property crackdown that they fear could reach into academia. Issued June 25, 2002, to a dozen researchers including David Baltimore, who identified the NF-kB signaling pathway, the patent was granted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Rese

Research

Probiotics: Their Tiny Worlds Are Under Scrutiny
Probiotics: Their Tiny Worlds Are Under Scrutiny
Image: Courtesy of Mark Neysmith, © Gregor Reid GUT REACTION: Researchers have found that Lactobacillus GR-1 and RC-14 can penetrate Escherichia coli biofilms, multiply, and survive. The human body plays host to a complex and thriving microbial ecosystem of vast numbers of tiny creatures. Some of these species, already well studied, can cause disease. But a renewed appreciation is growing for many lesser-known species called probiotics that help maintain health and may have the pote
Bit by Bit, the Structure of the Potassium Ion Channel Emerges
Bit by Bit, the Structure of the Potassium Ion Channel Emerges
Image: Courtesy of Roderick MacKinnon MAPPING THE PATH: The transmembrane pore of K+ channels is composed of four identical subunits, of which two are shown. The ion pathway contains a narrow selectivity filter (yellow) and a wide central cavity (asterisk). Three helical elements include the outer helix (M1), pore helix (P), and inner helix (M2). The gate is formed by the inner helix Bundle. (Reprinted with permission from Nature © 2002) Underlying every thought, heartbeat and movem

Hot Paper

The Goal: Find Vaccine Candidates in Neisseria meningitidis
The Goal: Find Vaccine Candidates in Neisseria meningitidis
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. Despite the plethora of microbial genome papers, most do little more than catalog genes and analyze results, says Hervé Tettelin, a microbial genomics investigator at the Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Md. They normally are presented, he says, as underpinnings for further
Researchers Sequence the Ubiquitous Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Researchers Sequence the Ubiquitous Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. Pseudomonas aeruginosa gets around. The bacterium thrives in soil and marshes, on marine coasts, and in plant and animal tissues. Of particular interest is its occasional, but often devastating, inhabitation of the human environment. It is an important cause of bacteremia associated with bur

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

Cornering Cachexia
Cornering Cachexia
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. It's a dieters' dream: Eat what you want and never gain weight. But shedding pounds is an unwanted health issue for those who have cachexia--uncontrollable weight loss unaffected by eating. Cachexia adds significantly to the morbidity of cancer and chronic infectious diseases such as AIDS. The condition also compromises the health of the elderly, who lose m
Notable
Notable
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. ACTIVATING PK B/AKT J. Yang et al., "Molecular mechanism for the regulation of protein kinase B/Akt by hydrophobic motif phosphorylation," Molecular Cell, 9:1227-40, 2002. "This contribution is important because it presents the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of Akt/protein kinase B and presents a molecular explanation for why phosphorylation of

Technology Profile

Site-Specific Recombinases
Site-Specific Recombinases
Image: Courtesy of Invitrogen AIDING RESEARCH INSIDE AND OUT: Recombinases allow scientists to easily move DNA between vectors in vitro (as shown above, using Invitrogen's Gateway technology). In vivo, they enable researchers to knockout genes in specific tissues, and at specific developmental times, facilitating the study of otherwise "embryonic lethal" genes. Transgenic mice. Drought-tolerant canola. Medication-producing plants. And the still-unrealized potential of gene therapy. These
Small Worms, Small RNAs, Big Questions
Small Worms, Small RNAs, Big Questions
Image: Courtesy of Frank Slack  SMALL, YET POTENT: A new and intriguing class of small RNAs can regulate eukaryotic gene expression. But scientists are trying to understand which signals cause these molecules to repress translation (left), and which cause RNA degradation (right). The answer could pave the way for gene therapy advances, among others. Andrew Fire and colleagues first described RNA interference (RNAi) in Caenorhabditis elegans in 1998.1 Exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)

Technology

Bridging Genomics and Proteomics
Bridging Genomics and Proteomics
Image: Courtesy of Aclara Biosciences The eTag™ system from ACLARA BioSciences of Mountain View, Calif., enables the multiplexed, solution-phase analysis of proteins and nucleic acids. This technology employs the company's eTag reporters, which are low-molecular weight, fluorescent molecules that are readily separated and quantified by capillary electrophoresis (CE) in conjunction with fluorescence detection using standard capillary DNA sequencers. This method can be used for any applic
Protein Expression Without Transfection
Protein Expression Without Transfection
Protein transfection, also called transduction, is the delivery of a biologically active protein or peptide directly into living cells.1 Pro-Ject™, a cationic lipid-based reagent, from Rockford, Ill.-based Pierce Biotechnology accomplishes this noninvasively--first, by noncovalently complexing with a protein, then fusing with or being endocytosed by the cell membrane, and finally, delivering a functional protein into the cytoplasm. Pro-Ject is fast and simple to use, with an average kit
Universal Array Makes Genotyping a SNaP
Universal Array Makes Genotyping a SNaP
Rapidly evolving genomic technologies have spawned the Tm/Luminex Universal Array Platform, capable of reading 10,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) per hour. Distributed by Luminex of Austin, Texas, the system is the product of a partnership between Luminex and Tm Bioscience of Toronto. Luminex pioneered multiplexed, bead-based genotyping with LabMAP™ (now called xMAP™).1 Tm Biosciences recently developed the Universal Array, an arbitrary set of nucleotide sequences for an

Profession

Tracking Venture Capital Around the World
Tracking Venture Capital Around the World
Image: Anne MacNamara Sophisticated European and UK investors seek potentially profitable deals with US biotechnology startups, which opens opportunities for American scientists at a time of caution in US capital markets. Between January 2001 and the end of March 2002, venture capitalists (VCs) based outside the United States raised 36 new funds to invest wholly or significantly in the life sciences. In the aggregate, those new funds represent $12 billion (US) for the life sciences and other t
When You Must Report Misconduct
When You Must Report Misconduct
Image: Anne MacNamara Cherlynn Mathias agonized over whether to report her allegations of scientific misconduct to the government and sought help from her parish priest. She still recalls the image of the church's art deco rectory, where she told the priest what she had learned about the ethics of research during her year at the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Tulsa and about her fear of retribution should she report the wrongdoing. At the end of the day, the priest asked, "What's the worst th
Ethics on the Corporate Payroll
Ethics on the Corporate Payroll
Image: Erica P. Johnson The Midwest Bioethics Center in Kansas City, Mo., runs a modest operation, so its officials rejoiced when they received $600,000 (US) from Bridgewater, NJ-based Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The grant will almost entirely fund a study on research integrity, and the center will host a conference on integrity in biomedical research in 2003 to culminate the work. "It's the best example of altruism," says Myra Christopher, president and CEO of MBC, which receives just $2 million

Turning Points

Three Steps to Independent Research
Three Steps to Independent Research
File Photo Brittney-Shea Herbert got an early start in grant writing during graduate school at the University of Texas, Austin, when a visiting lecturer from NASA encouraged her to apply for a fellowship, and she won it. Herbert says that applying for that first grant forced her to organize her thinking about the next steps in her research. As a postdoc in the lab run by telomerase re-searchers Jerry Shay and Woody Wright at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Herbert put her graduate

News Profile

Karen Vousden
Karen Vousden
Photo: Courtesy of Karen Vousden Karen H. Vousden, head of the Cell Growth Regulation Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Md., and her friend Xin Lu, a professor at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, found a way to get instant recognition at the many p53 meetings they attend: They wear similar blue sweaters. Twins from separate nations, the chums may have started a trend. At the 11th International p53 Workshop in Barcelona this past May, the pals teased two