Editorial

Engaging the Rest of Humanity

Engaging the Rest of Humanity

"Science... is good for the scientist; whether also for the rest of humanity is arguable." Erwin Chargaff Recently, a headline in the UK newspaper The Sun screamed "Your Mother Was Aborted Baby." The story dealt with the possibility of using aborted fetuses as a new source of donor eggs for couples needing fertility treatment. In the same week, the headline "Test-tube 'Monster' Condemned" ran in several publications, dealing with the creation of chimeric human embryos, part-male and part-f

Opinion

Scientists, It's Time to Speak Up

Scientists, It's Time to Speak Up

Ned Shaw Congress and the Bush administration--the same lawmakers who say that they want to spur healthier and longer lives for all Americans and economic growth through the harvest of our medical and health research enterprises--have proposed a historically low FY04 budget increase for the National Institutes of Health. As returns on recent research investments emerge, momentum could be slowed or dismantled by curtailed support for the NIH budget. Those of us who understand the central role t

Letter

Of Sugar and Spice

Of Sugar and Spice

Of Sugar and Spice My, my, my. As the mother of a 10-year old girl--and as a former 10-year old girl myself--I am surprised that The Scientist feels so confident that "hiking, camping, exploring the wilds, reading"1 are somehow the province of 10-year-old boys. I suspect the members of my Girl Scout Troop will be, too. Good thing this knowledge somehow escaped the attention of one-time 10-year-old girls from Anna Botsford Comstock to Rachel Carson to Jane Goodall, and of course, Lynn Marguli

Buildings of Science

Buildings of Science

Buildings of Science Your recent article on laboratory design describes a number of highly visible trends in the world of lab architecture.1 The openness and light you emphasize in these buildings is important, but there are other critical issues in lab design today. Here are some we've found that must be considered: How can the buildings of a great research community help meet its daily needs and fit its way of life? As you suggest in your article, labs and science campuses devoted to the

Do Not Disregard

Do Not Disregard

Do Not Disregard When noteworthy past citations are not mentioned in published articles, the disregard syndrome is considered by some to be the result of inadequate literature reviews causing editorial annoyances. It also has been noted to be a serious transgression of bibliographic negligence1 and a menace to honest science.2 Its occurrence as a failure to record previous citations of discovery in the issuing of patents has important legal concerns over ownership of intellectual property

Boycott Rebound

Boycott Rebound

Boycott Rebound In April 2002 Steven Rose persuaded some of his colleagues to sign a letter to The Guardian, calling for a moratorium on funding of Israeli science "unless and until Israel abides by UN resolutions and open serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians..." Now he tells us1 that he "never assumed the boycott, as such, would actually change the policies of the Israeli government." So the "unless and until" had no meaning at all. The boycott was not designed to help the Pales

Silent No More

Silent No More

Silent No More Thanks so much for your editorial1 on lab techs! As a lab rat, menial, lab slave, etc. for 20 years, I got incredibly tired of the demeaning attitudes by the supposedly better-educated grad students, postdocs, and professors. I was always professional in my work and gave 200% at all times. I can't tell you how many times [that I] or my other lab techs saved their butts when they would mess up an experiment or even worse, a clinical sample. I was once even nearly killed when a

Frontlines

Hydrogen Report is Full of Hot Air

Hydrogen Report is Full of Hot Air

Frontlines | Hydrogen Report is Full of Hot Air A paper1 claiming that a hydrogen economy could deleteriously affect the ozone layer is under fire. The popular media covered the report because of its iconoclastic attack on assumptions made by hydrogen optimists. However, few publications have noted charges that some of the authors' assumptions are flawed. If the United States were to adopt a hydrogen economy, the paper claims, then 20% of the gas, or 120 teragrams, would leak annually int

Wham, Bam, Now I'll Die, Ma'am

Wham, Bam, Now I'll Die, Ma'am

Frontlines | Wham, Bam, Now I'll Die, Ma'am Courtesy of Matthias Foellmer Sex does not come easy for male spiders. In many species, the female attacks and eats its mate, and sometimes, the male offers itself as a morsel for the female to feast on after mating. But the male Argiope aurantia takes this to the extreme by spontaneously dying during copulation.1 It's not fatal attraction, but a smart way to protect paternal investment, says Daphne Fairbairn, University of California, Riverside.

Snapshot

...And In the Role of Mr. Chips...

...And In the Role of Mr. Chips...

Click for larger version (43K) Sixty percent of the 309 readers who took part in our latest survey are involved in teaching. The average amount of time our readers spend educating the up-and-coming varies widely, from less than one hour per week to more than 20 hours; the average is 10 hours per week. Our readers have various teaching duties, with lecturing and individual instruction being the most frequently mentioned. The majority, 83%, are enthusiastic, or even more so, about their place

Foundations

The Transforming Principle

The Transforming Principle

Foundations | The Transforming Principle Click for larger version (74K) On May 13th, 1943, Oswald T. Avery (1877-1945) wrote a 14-page meandering letter to his brother Roy about his research, his despondence, his fears, and his dreams. His emotions range from excited explanation of what was happening in his lab to trepidations that the scientific community wouldn't accept his results. At one point, Avery questions whether he should leave the Rockefeller Institute, give up science, and retu

First Person

David Botstein

David Botstein

First Person | David Botstein Courtesy of Frank Wojciechowski At the age of 60, David Botstein, microarray and genetics pioneer, is learning to play the cello. As a young man, Botstein seriously considered being a musician, but he knew the talent just wasn't there. "I did play the violin, badly," he admits. Yet his love of music is so ingrained--his brother, Leon, is music director for the American Symphony Orchestra--that even as an undergraduate at Harvard, he "ran with the musicians."

5-Prime

Prions - The Terminators

Prions - The Terminators

5-Prime | Prions - The Terminators What are they? The prion protein (PrP) is a widely expressed, membrane-associated protein transcribed from the PRNP gene, which is highly conserved among mammals. PrPs exist in two forms: a common, harmless alpha-helical form, and a rare beta-sheet form that causes fatal mammalian brain diseases such as scrapie, Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, and mad cow disease. Prion diseases collectively are called spongiform encephalopathies, causing sponge-like vacuoles in

Off The Cuff

The Comeback to a 6th Grader Who Says, 'Science is Boring'

The Comeback to a 6th Grader Who Says, 'Science is Boring'

Off the Cuff | The Comeback to a 6th Grader Who Says, 'Science is Boring' "In two years, science will rule your dreams and desires, and you will have no control over it. Hormones are great intellectual stimulators." Frank A. Snyder, MD, Wilmington, NC "Scientists travel into jungles to study cannibals, crawl into active volcanoes, play with dinosaur bones, and blow things up! How can that be boring?" Thalles R. de Mello, The University of Western Australia, Perth "Better hand over the

Science Seen

Dengue Junior

Dengue Junior

Science Seen | Dengue Junior Image: Ying Zhang, Richard Kuhn, Tim Baker, Michael Rossmann, Purdue University  This image, assembled by Purdue University researchers and others from cryoelectron micrographs of immature dengue viral particles, shows the 60 or so trimers, or three-pronged protein spikes, on its surface. Each protein molecule contains a fusion peptide that the virus uses to attach itself to a potential host. A mature dengue particle, in contrast, has a smooth surface. f

Calendar

August Calendar

August Calendar

August Calendar August CalendarClick for larger version (PDF, 375K) function sendData() { document.frm.pathName.value = location.pathname; result = false if (document.frm.score[0].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[1].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[2].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[3].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[4].checked) result = true; if (!result) alert("Please select") return result; } .myradi

Feature

Nanoscience is Out of the Bottle

Nanoscience is Out of the Bottle

 SUPER GOO: Nanotech and Super Heroes? It's a natural. A nanoscale adhesive, developed by University of Manchester researchers, lets this Spiderman hang with confidence. (Reprinted with permission from Nature Materials, 2:461-63, 2003) Don't look now, but the nanotech revolution is already here. It began as a collection of curiosities: nano-enabled sunscreens, tennis racquets, fishing rods, and stain-resistant pants. And more are coming. Nanotech supporters say the technology will benef

Research

On the Science of SARS

On the Science of SARS

REUTERS/Simon Kwong  The Taiwan Post Office released a series of anti-SARS stamps. Funds collected were designated to fight the disease, which was declared under control in Taiwan on July 5. November 2002: Initial cases of a severe, new pneumonia appear in Guangdong Province, South China. The World Health Organization (WHO) is not warned. Feb. 28, 2003: Hanoi, Vietnam, asks WHO representative Carlo Urbani for assistance with a similar disease. Urbani warns WHO of probable existence of

Next Generation Biofactories

Next Generation Biofactories

Courtesy James Weaver and Daniel Morse  These starburst structures of silica are produced as a rudimentary form of skeletal support by the sponge Tethya aurantia found in shallow waters off California. Yeast, diatoms, sponges: Already occupying mundane places in modern households, these organisms may yet inspire important new manufacturing developments. From minute and intricate computer chip components, to nanoscale gold-plated wires, to superior drug manufacturing capabilities, univers

Noise Pollution: There Goes the Cellular Neighborhood

Noise Pollution: There Goes the Cellular Neighborhood

Reprinted with permission from AAAS  COLORFUL NOISE: Bacterial cells simultaneously expressing two different fluorescent proteins (red and green) from identical promoters. Because of stochasticity or noise in the process of gene expression, even two nearly identical genes often produce unequal amounts of protein. Listen. Gene expression tends to be noisy. As beautifully regulated as it sometimes seems, the path from gene to message to protein picks up interference; a nagging variability

From Dirt Comes Diversity

From Dirt Comes Diversity

Courtesy Marisa Pedulla and Graham Hatfull.  SAME BUT DIFFERENT: electron micrograph of mycobacteriophages Barnyard (left), and Cjw1 (above). While morphologically similar, the two phages are quite distinct genomically and have fewer than 3% of their genes in common. When high school teacher Debbie Jacobs-Sera showed up with two of her students at Graham Hatfull's door at the University of Pittsburgh, it took only minutes for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator to put them t

Modeling Glue

Modeling Glue

Courtesy Rachel Haridsty Mouse Genome Centre, Medical Research Council, Harwell, UK  MUTT AND JEFF: The Jeff mutant (bottom left), derived from an ethylnitrosourea screen for deaf mutants, has craniofacial abnormalities such as a shortened face when compared with a wild-type mouse (top left). The Jeff mutation maps to mouse chromosome 17 in a region of the mouse genome homolous to human chromosome 2p16-23. A large-scale mouse-mutagenesis program in Harwell, UK, recently turned up two new

Hot Paper

Yeast Pushes the Proteomic Envelope

Yeast Pushes the Proteomic Envelope

 NETWORKED: (A) Effects of the gal4D+gal perturbation are superimposed on a gene interaction network… Click for larger version (92K) Large-scale biology once conjured images of brute-force genetic screens resulting in collections of mutants. More recently, it has meant genome sequencing on unprecedented scales. But today, as this issue's Hot Papers demonstrate, the leading edge in large-scale biology is proteomics. As in the large-scale efforts of the past, researchers rely on simp

Technology Front Page

Fluorophore Fingerprinting; Gene Therapy Hybrid; Low-Level Annotation

Fluorophore Fingerprinting; Gene Therapy Hybrid; Low-Level Annotation

PATENT WATCH | Fluorophore Fingerprinting The Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, Calif., has been awarded a patent for a protein fingerprint system (US patent 6,569,685, issued May 27, 2003). The patent covers a method that, in the simplest case, consists of covalently modifying reactive residues using orthogonal chemistries, by attaching one fluorophore to lysine residues under appropriate chemical conditions, and a different fluorophore to cysteine residues. "The general idea is to

Technology Profile

Molecular Databases Grow, and Grow, ... and Grow

Molecular Databases Grow, and Grow, ... and Grow

Erica P. Johnson In the early days of American television, the late Steve Allen created a comic persona called "Question Man." An expert in whatever, Question Man contended that the public was so well-informed, knowing more answers than questions, that it was leaving many answers unquestioned. So, Question Man invited his audience to send him answers out-of-context, and he provided the questions. They were the punch lines. Today the soaring medium is the Internet, where hundreds of molecular

Technology

New Dimensions in Confocal Microscopy

New Dimensions in Confocal Microscopy

New Dimensions in Confocal Microscopy PerkinElmer's new UltraVIEW RS microscope produces real-time images in six dimensions Courtesy of PerkinElmer A protein's function depends on its movement inside a cell and interactions with other proteins and biological structures. Biologists who want to watch proteins working in living cells frequently turn to confocal microscopy. "Confocal microscopy is critical for modern cell biology and physiology," says Michael Nathanson of the Yale University Sc

Zooming in on Proteins

Zooming in on Proteins

Courtesy of Invitrogen Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) has come under fire for its lack of reproducibility, low throughput, and exclusion of low-abundance proteins. Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen recently developed a workaround with its ZOOM™ IEF Fractionator System to enhance low-abundance protein detection. Designed to fractionate samples by isoelectric point prior to 2-DE, 1-DE, or 2-D liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, the fractionator device employs precast, bu

Looking Sharp

Looking Sharp

Courtesy of Nikon Instruments Melville, NY-based Nikon Instruments has made microscopy as easy as plug-and-play with its new COOLSCOPE, a self-contained bright-field digital microscope designed for use by novices and trained experts alike. The COOLSCOPE combines two of Nikon's strengths into a PC-sized microscope that can be controlled with the click of a mouse. "We wanted to put together [Nikon's] digital-imaging capabilities with the advantages of a quality microscope," explains Stan Schwar

Profession Front Page

How Women do Male Bonding; The Genome Highway; Feds Fund Stem Cell Substitutes

How Women do Male Bonding; The Genome Highway; Feds Fund Stem Cell Substitutes

TIP TROVE | How Women do Male Bonding Courtesy of Brigid Hogan Do what you love and enjoy, and forget about being one of the boys. Build your own network of colleagues and people you respect and admire, create a network of younger people that you are helping, and wait for the men to come to you. Be so good at what you do, that the men want to come to you. It's no good trying to be one of the boys, because the whole system is flawed. A small group of powerful people know how to manipulate t

Profession

The SARS Cash Cow

The SARS Cash Cow

No vaccine or treatment for severe acute respiratory syndrome has yet appeared, and government money has just begun to flow to SARS research. Yet biotech companies have already cashed in on SARS fears, thanks to investors who scrambled to place their bets on the winners in the race against the new global scourge. At biotech after biotech, the story was the same: a press release claiming connection to the search for a cure for SARS brought a nice bump-up in the stock price and a hefty increas

FDA Rewrites Rules on Biologics

FDA Rewrites Rules on Biologics

In a move designed to speed approval of new biotech products, the US Food & Drug Administration has transferred oversight for many new biotech therapies from its office that reviews biologics to the one that approves traditional drugs. Biotech and pharmaceutical companies had been pushing for the change for years, because it's generally believed that companies can more easily get regulatory clearance from the drug review section of the agency. This change became a reality with the arriva

Tough Times for European Biotech

Tough Times for European Biotech

Corbis The European biotechnology industry, once praised for its promise, now faces overwhelming pressure, prompted by the global decline in investment funding and internal bureaucratic obstacles. The sector's bounding growth rate jolted in 2002, with 10% to 20% annual revenue increases flattening to nothing by the end of that year.1 As venture funding and other investment recedes, once burgeoning companies are closing shop and trimming positions, a trend that has continued in 2003. Even bold

Northern Europe says Skol To Biotechnology

Northern Europe says Skol To Biotechnology

Courtesy of BioCon Valley In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League, a free-trade alliance between cities situated along the shores of the Baltic Sea, built a major commercial center that enriched the participants. Today, the region's life sciences leaders have formed the ScanBalt organization with the same aims. Officially launched in 2002, ScanBalt encompasses the EU member states Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Germany; the EU candidate countries Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland; and No

Fine Tuning

Bright Outlook for SARS Research Funding

Bright Outlook for SARS Research Funding

Bright Outlook for SARS Research Funding By Bernard Tulsi A single bright spot in the otherwise dark SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) story is the new research opportunities it has created for researchers who study infectious diseases. As SARS episodes wax and wane, its long-term public health significance remains unclear. But its severity is undisputed: As of July 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 8,447 cases, including 811 deaths in 30 countries, plus Hong Kong. Th

Science Rules

European Economy Strikes at Rising Stars

European Economy Strikes at Rising Stars

Establishing oneself as an independent investigator is not easy, and this is especially true for young scientists in Europe. The good news is that in many European countries, substantial reforms and improvements have begun to reverse the brain drain. The bad news is that because of the economic slowdown, science funding is often being squeezed, and this always affects people at the junior end. Germany's Max Planck Society (MPG), for example, recently announced dramatic cuts to cope with a de

How I Got This Job

Have Fun, Be Useful

Have Fun, Be Useful

Courtesy of Evgeny Zdobnov Early Indications: Thanks to my parents, I got interested in science and did well in school, so I was accepted to the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. It is Russia's elite university in physics and mathematics. There I developed my attitude to science and its philosophy, earned my BS, MS, and later my PhD. Although fascinated by living organisms, I had never considered myself a biologist before, and in applying to the faculty of Physical and Chemical Biol

Postdoc Talk

Finding Wealth in Knowledge

Finding Wealth in Knowledge

Courtesy of Asma Asyyed The words rich and postdoc cannot possibly exist in the same sentence. Baggy and ripped clothes are not worn as a fashion statement, and junk food is not consumed for its nutritional value. Most postdocs are poor. After nine years of postsecondary education, I accumulated a debt that is equivalent to the price of a house. I never thought that money would be an issue; all I wanted was to choose a job that makes me happy. But, after spending a lot of money and time in un

Closing Bell

Y Envy

Y Envy

The Y chromosome has long had an image problem. A male grasshopper lacks a Y, and a male bee stems from an egg that the queen deemed unfertilizable. Turtle eggs laid in the sun become sisters, their shaded brethren, brothers. And although most mammalian males do indeed have Ys, the two species that don't--mole voles--are apparently fine. They even copulate. But the Y's lowly status has changed; now, it seems, the Y has been evolving, not dying, thanks to work by David Page and others at the