News

Science Publishing Evolves: Tangled in the Web
Science Publishing Evolves: Tangled in the Web
It's going to be a preprint service. It's going to be a reprint repository. It's going to kill off society journals. It's going to save them. It's going to compete with commercial titles. It's going to complement them. There appears to be no consensus on the effect E-biomed, a potential government-backed electronic publishing service proposed by Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, will have on other journals--both paper and electronic. Nor does there appear to be much a
Bt or not Bt ... Transgenic Corn vs. Monarch Butterflies
Bt or not Bt ... Transgenic Corn vs. Monarch Butterflies
John Losey thought his Nature paper might attract some attention, but not the media "whirlwind" of "a good 60 calls" that disrupted his life for a few days. Losey, assistant professor of entomology at Cornell University, "expected to be busy, but not quite this busy." What prompted the fuss? By claiming that a gene for a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxic protein makes corn pollen poisonous to Monarch butterflies,1 Losey's team ignited another round in the volatile politics of genetically modifi
Science Publishing Evolves: Greed or Need?
Science Publishing Evolves: Greed or Need?
At Cornell University there is "preliminary discussion on a national symposium" to be held at the upstate New York campus to discuss, among other things, the rising costs of subscriptions to commercially published academic journals, according to Ross Atkinson, Cornell's deputy university librarian. The backdrop for the potential symposium? A number of recent significant events in the world of academic publishing: The release in December 1998 of the Journal Price Study1 by a Cornell Universit
NAS Elects 60 New Members, 15 Foreign Associates
NAS Elects 60 New Members, 15 Foreign Associates
Editor's Note: The National Academy of Sciences has elected 60 new members and 15 foreign associates from 10 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. In this article, The Scientist presents photographs of most of the new members and comments from some of them. A full directory of NAS members can be found online at www.nas.edu/nas. When in 1977 the genes of eukaryotes were found to be riddled with nonprotein-encoding stretches of bases,
Commercial, Academic Collaboration Leads to Discovery of Bone Mass Gene
Commercial, Academic Collaboration Leads to Discovery of Bone Mass Gene
"Drink milk," advertisements demand. Fight osteoporosis before bone loss occurs. They make a good point, considering that nothing on the market will restore a significant amount of lost bone mass. Current therapies can only stop or help slow down the process. However, scientists at Chiroscience Research and Development in Bothell, Wash., hope to actually treat osteoporosis. They have identified a novel gene coding for a protein that may be involved in bone-density control. This "bone mass gene
Genome of Thermotoga maritima Reveals Lateral Gene Transfer
Genome of Thermotoga maritima Reveals Lateral Gene Transfer
"Thermotoga was selected because it is near the base of the Woesean tree," says Craig Venter, TIGR chief scientific officer and president of nearby Celera Genomics Corp. The Woesean tree is the three-pronged depiction of the domains of life named for Carl Woese, the University of Illinois microbiologist who discovered the Archaea in 1977.2 The Archaea are microorganisms that lack nuclei as do traditional Eubacteria, yet have transcriptional and translational machinery and other characteristics

Hot Paper

Cancer Research
Cancer Research
Y. Haupt, R. Maya, A. Kazaz, M. Oren, "Mdm2 promotes the rapid degradation of p53," Nature, 387:296-99, 1997. (Cited in more than 230 papers since publication) Comments by Moshe Oren, a professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel M.H.G. Kubbutat, S.N. Jones, K.H. Vousden, "Regulation of p53 stability by Mdm2," Nature, 387:299-303, 1997. (Cited in more than 215 papers since publication) Comments by Karen H. Vousden, interim dire

Letter

On Consensus and Funding
On Consensus and Funding
A few days ago I picked up a copy of Time magazine, which featured several of the most prominent scientists of this century. One of the most prominent was, of course, Albert Einstein. Then later, I read the Opinion page by Nejat Düzgünes in the April 12 issue of The Scientist.1 The juxtaposition of these two articles got me thinking: What would have happened if Albert Einstein had been required to submit to a funding agency in Switzerland a grant proposal to study relativity but under
On Consensus and Funding
On Consensus and Funding
Although Nejat Düzgünes' critique summarized the major criticisms, there was one that was omitted: "cronyism." However, I should point out that there was nothing in his critique that had not been said before, especially in the '70s, when life scientists were asked for their comments and from which little emerged to change the system. I respectfully suggest that his suggestion is flawed. His alternative to the current grant system would "provide continuous and stable funding for scien
On Consensus and Funding
On Consensus and Funding
While a whole lot of debate is to be raised, analyzed, and productively utilized in the context of grant funding by NIH, Dr. Düzgünes' article was a timely boost in that direction. The issues he has raised are not the unique ones that only he thinks are to be modified. Many scientists would probably agree on the matters he has highlighted. It's good to hear from professors like the author that NIH needs to look deeper into the policies. What I liked most in his thoughtful discussion i

Commentary

Acknowledged Web Posting Is Not Prior Publication
Acknowledged Web Posting Is Not Prior Publication
Most scientific journals begin their instructions to authors with a strong statement against prior or double publication. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) states, "Manuscripts containing original material are accepted for consideration if neither the article nor any part of its essential substance, tables, or figures has been or will be published or submitted here before appearing in the Journal." Most journals then list exceptions to the blanket rule; for example, presentation of th

Opinion

Keeping up with the Research Literature through Reprint Requests
Keeping up with the Research Literature through Reprint Requests
In active research fields, knowledge grows exponentially.1 As a consequence, researchers and clinicians rapidly fall behind their fields of expertise if they do not constantly absorb new developments. Although attendance to professional conferences can provide a general awareness of recent developments, one can acquire detailed knowledge of new material only by reading full research reports in the published literature. Since my graduate-school days in the early 1980s, I have monitored the litera

Technology

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Scienceware® Mammalian Cell-Colony Reader The new Scienceware® Mammalian Cell -Colony Reader from Bel-Art Products makes visualizing colonies, monolayers, and plaques easier. The petri dish is placed on a clear plastic platform and a mirror underneath tilts and rotates, giving a full view of the dish while magnifying up to 3X. The Cell-Colony Reader can also be used to visualize the contents of 96-well microtiter plates. Bel-Art Products, (973) 694-0500, www.bel-art.com The new Pagod
One-Step Microplate Sonication: Misonix 431-T Tray Horn
One-Step Microplate Sonication: Misonix 431-T Tray Horn
Misonix' 431-T Tray Horn Have you ever wished you could be in two places at once or that you had more than two hands? While clever tissue engineering and cloning techniques present a scientifically viable albeit disconcerting possibility, most scientists look to instrumentation for solutions when they have multiple, time-consuming tasks to perform simultaneously. Misonix Inc., a New York sonication equipment manufacturer, has introduced the new 431-T Tray Horn that can help researchers kill 96
Calibration To Dye For: ARTEL's New Pipette Calibration System
Calibration To Dye For: ARTEL's New Pipette Calibration System
ARTEL'S Pipette Calibration System Researchers walk a fine line between the real world of botched experiments and the ideal world of rigorously controlled laboratory conditions they are expected to uphold. At times, some experimentalists would be willing to admit that the real world of publication deadlines and grant proposals intrudes on the laboratory environment. The enormous pressure to publish or teach places unusual constraints on the time of researchers, who may find themselves unable

Technology Profile

Cast of New Players: A Profile of New Precast Gels for Nucleic Acid Analysis
Cast of New Players: A Profile of New Precast Gels for Nucleic Acid Analysis
Date: June 7, 1999Precast Gel Table FMC Latitude™ Midigels Analyzing DNA on gels is not what it used to be. In the last two years, several new precast gels for nucleic acid analysis have been introduced to life scientists. Based on some novel and creative ideas, a few of these products have undoubtedly raised more than a few eyebrows. Others have probably generated comments like "It's about time." For example, it takes some adjustment to consider running a dry agarose gel--one that eli
MALDI-TOF Goes Mainstream: Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometers For Multisample Analysis
MALDI-TOF Goes Mainstream: Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometers For Multisample Analysis
MALDI-TOF Table Micromass' laser-addressable sample array target for MALDI Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry has become, in recent years, a tool of choice for large-molecule analyses, especially for proteins. Published applications address protein and nucleic acid sequence, structure, purity, heterogeneity, cleavage, posttranslational modification, and a host of other molecular characteristics that are often difficult to study

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
In the article entitled "Tyr'd and True" in The Scientist, 13[10]:18, May 10, 1999, the figure legend "Using mAb PY20 to immunoprecipitate Tyr-phosphorylated paxillin from carbachol-treated cells" should contain the following acknowledgement to the original source of publication: "Figure adapted from B.E. Slack, PNAS 95:7281-7286, 1998. Copyright (1998) National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A."

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Image provided by Genzyme Transgenics Corporation CLONING GOATS In contrast to cloning's popular image as a brave new way to mass-produce monsters, biologists have described cloning as a tool to ease other biotechnologies. Researchers from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Genzyme Transgenic Corp. in Framingham, Mass., and Tufts University School of Medicine in North Grafton, Mass., have shown how cloning can dramatically increase the efficiency of creating goats that secrete valuable