News

Frontlines
Frontlines
For many laboratories, monkey business is no laughing matter. The rise in bioterrorism research after the Sept. 11 tragedy puts an increased demand on the already limited supply of rhesus monkeys for research ("Monkey deficit crimps laboratories as scientists scramble for alternatives," The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2002). The genetic similarity between humans and rhesus monkeys has helped establish the species as the preferred nonhuman primate model for medical research, making the monkeys e
Science on the Sly
Science on the Sly
A scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kans., pleaded guilty in May in a case involving theft of research materials from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Hiroaki Serizawa, an assistant professor of biochemistry at KUMC, admitted he lied to FBI agents who were investigating the theft of DNA, cell line reagents, and other genetic research materials used in Alzheimer research at the Cleveland Clinic. Officials say that the 19
New NAS Members Reflect Scope of Science Today
New NAS Members Reflect Scope of Science Today
The newly elected members and foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) represent 64 scientific fields manifesting the ever-shifting boundaries of science. Stephen Berry, home secretary of the NAS, says the new class reflects the expansion of science into several new directions; computer and information sciences, biophysics, and human environmental sciences were added a year ago. "All the new and expanded areas correspond to new areas or lie within the bounds of traditional fi
Bioterror in the Realm of Make-Believe
Bioterror in the Realm of Make-Believe
Can the United States cope with biological terrorism? The anthrax deaths have invested this question with new urgency, eliciting many opinions at the Pentagon and in Washington's think tanks. But the dubious benefit of prior experience on which to base those opinions is scarce. One way to get the experience is by the technological play-acting known as simulation. The US Army has used virtual reality simulations for combat training since the late 1980s. Trainees are placed inside a module, three
Genes and Eye Paralysis
Genes and Eye Paralysis
In patients with progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), the muscles that move the eyes gradually deteriorate until the only way patients can follow an object is by turning their heads. Last year, Christine Van Broeckhoven and colleagues at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, linked PEO in a Belgian family to a point mutation in the gene for polymerase gamma, the DNA polymerase responsible for replicating the 16.5-kilobase mitochondrial chromosome.1 Now, William Copeland's lab at the Nationa

Commentary

Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Of all of Stephen Jay Gould's essays in Natural History, one stands out as my favorite—for egotistical reasons. "Hopeful Monsters" appeared in October 1980. German-American geneticist Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958) coined the term hopeful monsters in 1940 to describe the occasional two-headed calf or five-legged frog mutant that might find another like itself, breed, and somehow produce a new species. Strict Darwinian gradualists ridiculed the idea, but Gould and Niles Eldridge's 1972 pun

Opinion

Love Him or Hate Him, Stephen Jay Gould Made a Difference
Love Him or Hate Him, Stephen Jay Gould Made a Difference
I never met Stephen Jay Gould, though I did attend a lecture he gave two years ago. Still, that hour explained many of the opinions I'd heard of him: love, hate, joy, envy, and respect. Like a lot of people who make a difference, Gould was a study in contrasts. You also had to wonder whether he ran according to a different clock than the rest of us. The campy cliché 24/7 didn't apply to Gould—he could not have fit so much in a 24-hour day and a 60-year life. Gould was first and forem

Letter

Migrating Scientists
Migrating Scientists
Regarding your cover story, "Migrating Minds,"1 I would like to add some comments about my country, France. After getting a master of science in chemical engineering in France, I went to the USA to get a PhD in organic chemistry, followed by two years' postdoctoral studies. I have been lucky to be employed by a French company in my country. I had, some time ago, the desire to apply to a research position in the CNRS or INSERM, [both] French research associations. I have discovered that it would

Research

What Sets the Biological Clock?
What Sets the Biological Clock?
Most people run on an internal 24-hour cycle, synchronized to the light and dark cycles of the outside world. Information about external luminescence is conveyed to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, which incorporates it into what is known as the circadian rhythm, or biological clock. In cold-blooded vertebrates, deep-brain photoreceptors allow for photoentrainment, the process by which the eyes facilitate setting of the circadian clock. Mammals do not have these receptors;
Researchers Find No Clear Paths on Road to Unraveling Schizophrenia
Researchers Find No Clear Paths on Road to Unraveling Schizophrenia
Twenty years ago, many investigators believed that genetics held the key to understanding schizophrenia, an etiologically heterogeneous disease.1 It seemed only a matter of time before the power of genetic analysis could be brought to bear on this malady, resulting in better drug leads and better ways toward prevention.2 So far, genetic advances have been few. "There was really a misjudgment on the part of some in the field," says Kenneth Kendler, professor of psychiatry and human genetics at
Scientists Getting to the Core of Bacillus anthracis
Scientists Getting to the Core of Bacillus anthracis
Proteins have a notoriously difficult time traversing the hydrophobic layers of the plasma membrane. But some species, such as Bacillus anthracis, have devised clever ways to push their proteins through. Anthrax kills with a toxin, a compound composed of three proteins—protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF)—that somehow penetrate the plasma membrane of the host cell and enter the cytosol where they make their kill. Antibiotics against anthrax attack the b
Flies and Rats do the Molecular Squint
Flies and Rats do the Molecular Squint
The Faculty of 1000 is a Web-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. It provides a continuously updated insider's guide to the most important peer-reviewed papers within a range of research fields, based on the recommendations of a faculty of more than 1,400 leading researchers. Each issue, The Scientist publishes a review of some related papers highlighted by the Faculty of 1000, plus comments on new and notable research. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com.
Notable
Notable
Z. Mourelatos et al., "miRNPs: A novel class of ribonucleoproteins containing numerous microRNAs," Genes & Development, 16[6]:720-8, March 15, 2002. "A novel ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex in HeLa cells was identified that contains two proteins implicated in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), eIF2C2 (a member of the Argonaute family), and numerous small RNAs ~22 nucleotides in length. The finding that microRNAs (miRNAs) associate with eIF2C2 ties together genetic findings demonstrating that Argona

Hot Paper

Elusive Ligand Ghrelin Could Have Numerous Roles
Elusive Ligand Ghrelin Could Have Numerous Roles
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. The hunt for endogenous or synthetic molecules that can stimulate growth hormone production has always been appealing. Finding the right molecule or molecules that control appetite, for example, could have significant financial returns. About two years ago, two research groups, whose work has

Technology Profile

Identifying Those Remembered
Identifying Those Remembered
Last year, two Denver scientists theorized that a clinical instrument used to spot cancer mutations could speed up the normally tedious DNA identification process. Then the attacks of Sept. 11 occurred, and their work suddenly took on a sense of urgency. When the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sent out a countrywide plea for information on new technologies that could assist in the investigation at Ground Zero, Phil Danielson, assistant professor of molecular biology at the University of Den
The Core of DNA Synthesis
The Core of DNA Synthesis
Editor's note: This is the second of a three-part series on tools for core facilities. The last installment in the series, on peptide synthesizers, will appear in the Sept. 16 issue. As the biotech revolution has exploded, so too has the market for oligonucleotides. And as the number of labs in need of these tools has grown, so has the science of their synthesis. In response, oligonucleotides, which are short, synthetic RNA or DNA sequences, have gone from luxury item status to that of a standar

Technology

CodeLink Enters the Fray
CodeLink Enters the Fray
Northbrook, Ill.-based Motorola Life Sciences has tossed its hat into the microarray ring. The company's CodeLink™ platform includes arrays, reagent kits, tools, and software, but the core technology is a proprietary three-dimensional polyacrylamide-based matrix, which Motorola acquired from SurModics of Eden Prairie, Minn. Unlike Santa Clara, Calif.-based Affymetrix, which synthesizes oligonucleotides directly on its biochips using a photolithographic process, Motorola synthesizes its 30
Lighting Up Life in Real Time
Lighting Up Life in Real Time
In recent years scientists have exploited the light-generating capability of luciferase in applications ranging from apoptosis detection to DNA quantitation. Now Alameda, Calif.-based Xenogen has taken this useful enzyme one step further, with a luciferase-based system for studying infectious diseases, cancer, and metabolic diseases in living animals in real time. Xenogen has developed Bioware™ animal models, in which pathogens, target genes, or tumor cells are tagged with luciferase, whi
Simple Complexes
Simple Complexes
As an alternative to the standard chemical methods for antibody conjugate preparation, Molecular Probes of Eugene, Ore., recently introduced its Zenon™ technology for direct labeling of primary antibodies. Instead of using covalent modification, Zenon technology relies on immune complexes to create antibody conjugates. The first Zenon product line, Zenon One, provides a variety of reagent kits for labeling mouse IgG1 isotype antibodies with a particular detection label. Zenon technology d

Profession

Staying One Step Ahead of Government Censors
Staying One Step Ahead of Government Censors
Before Sept. 11, academic research managers could easily run labs without running afoul of export controls. Talking to foreign-born students, chatting with overseas colleagues, and publishing the results of research presented few regulatory obstacles. But managers now may be required to reassess their research styles when it comes to such diurnal tasks. Regulations under consideration in Washington, DC, could narrow exemptions that allow free international information exchanges, experts on US s
Politicking for Science
Politicking for Science
Long before he became a physicist, Rush Holt embraced politics. The son of a US senator from West Virginia, Holt so enjoyed the political scene that in the seventh grade he bought his own subscription to The Washington Post. Today Holt has combined his two passions—science and politics—into one job: US Representative (D-NJ). The former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory works on three House committees, including the powerful budget committee. The scientist-
Turning Points: Making Policy, A Career
Turning Points: Making Policy, A Career
Passion leads many scientists away from the bench and into world policy organizations. But policy making and diplomacy require both art and science, and universities and fellowship programs can help life scientists acquire skills they don't always learn in their labs. Take Achal Bhatt, an analyst in the National Immunization Program (NIP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. As Bhatt worked toward her PhD on mycobacteria, which cause tuberculosis, she became incre
An Evolutionary Institute
An Evolutionary Institute
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology (MPIEA) in Leipzig, Germany, recently concluded that differences in the expression patterns of genes distinguish humans from chimpanzees, though they share 98.7% of their DNA sequences.1 The team, led by geneticist Svante Pääbo, found that human expression patterns in the brain exhibited pronounced differences from those of chimpanzees and other apes, in effect, pointing to an accelerated rate of evolution of our ment
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Click to view our current database of Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences.

News Profile

Mariano Barbacid
Mariano Barbacid
A classical sculpture depicts the Greek Titan Atlas bent awkwardly under the weight of an immense globe. The same sculptor might depict Mariano Barbacid, director of Spain's National Center for Cancer Research (CNIO), carrying an additional weight: Time. Like other Spanish scientists who have returned from the United States and Europe to build their country's biomedical research system, Barbacid must push time forward to an age when Spain attracts legions of Titans in the life sciences. In the