Editorial

Above and Beyond Open Access
Above and Beyond Open Access
Information technology, an innovative publishing practice, and public debate synchronized in a most satisfying way over the past month.On Feb. 28, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published an article1 entitled, "Where Is The Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans?" The paper purported to demonstrate that "Much animal research into potential treatments for humans is wasted because it is poorly conducted and not evaluated through systematic reviews." Unsurprisingly, the article attracted

Opinion

The Digitization of Museum Specimens
The Digitization of Museum Specimens
Brad FitzpatrickNatural history museum collections contain a world of knowledge thatcan be used to support the needs of science and society. We need to develop the infrastructure, technology, and collaborative framework to make these collections electronically available to a worldwide audience.These museums contain specimens and data collected over hundreds of years. Researchers can use these collections to understand the past and predict future environmental scenarios. At the moment, the collec

Letter

Recalculate this Equation
Recalculate this Equation
Progress in many research areas is limited by funding constraints, so budgets must always be subjected to thorough scrutiny. However, we must be equally thorough in examining research costs regarding the anticipated benefits of that research. For example, if we apply this to Professor Potts' remarks about the high costs of clinical trials of microbicides,1 it is clear that he has presented only one side of the equation. Yes, costs are high. For a Phase III trial of a microbicide, we must budget
Style in the Lab
Style in the Lab
I worked in the lab for 15 years before surrendering to an administrative job. I've tried explaining to my nonscientific friends that just because I wear jeans and sneakers every day, doesn't mean that I'm not working or that I'm not incredibly stressed or challenged. When they ask why I prefer going home to change before meeting for a drink somewhere, I'd say I just couldn't wear that to the lab. Although they assumed it was because of chemical or biological spills (partially true), it is mostl
Integrity and Self-Assessment
Integrity and Self-Assessment
Recently, Ken Pimple commented on the Institute of Medicine report,1 "Integrity in Scientific Research." I was a member of the panel that produced that volume.While I also bemoan the document's public fate, our goal was to influence accrediting bodies to develop methods of addressing individual and institutional scientific integrity as part of the self-assessment component of their regular reviews. If some organizations tackle the issue, we will have been successful.We concluded that self-assess

Frontlines

Getting Water to the Desert, the Old-Fashioned Way
Getting Water to the Desert, the Old-Fashioned Way
Courtesy of William JamesThey may be the world's first example of technology transfer: ancient Persian irrigation systems known as qanats, whose use later spread as far east as Japan and as far west as Chile. Now, a new international qanat center based in Yazd, Iran, aims to revive the cultural heritage and use of these underground water channels. Still in limited existence in Oman and Syria, these systems are better known in Iran, where the center aims to repair and preserve approximately 2,500
Radical Findings in the Mountains
Radical Findings in the Mountains
When physicians examined members of a Swiss expedition to Mount Everest in the 1980s, they discovered widespread damage to the climbers' muscles. Mito-chondrial volume had decreased by 20% and there was evidence of cell deterioration in tissue samples. However, their guides, the indigenous Tibetan Sherpas, were not affected.Now a Swiss-Italian team has found that several antioxidant enzymes seem to shield the Tibetans from the insults of oxygen deficiency at high altitudes.1 "Hypoxia leads to th

Snapshot

Science Museums
Science Museums
Of the 352 readers who responded to our survey:- Alexander Grimwade

5-Prime

A Powerful Tool in the Silencing Trade
A Powerful Tool in the Silencing Trade
1. What is this powerful tool?Courtesy of Sirna TherapeuticsRNA interference (RNAi) is a type of posttranscriptional genetic regulation that occurs naturally in the cytoplasm to protect the cell against excess and foreign RNAs. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), an unusual type of nucleic acid encoded in viral genomes and transposable elements, triggers a process that regulates gene expression without touching the genome.2. What do we know about it?Scientists know that RNAi protects the cell against v

First Person

Philippa Marrack
Philippa Marrack
What's the secret of your successful partnership?Courtesy of Philippa MarrackWe're interested in the same intellectual puzzles. [The T cell is] real interesting; it usually does the opposite of what you think it should do. We have a shared passion for this, understanding how this cell works.Have your first impressions of the United States changed?When I came here, my first impression was that everybody, including the guy pumping gas, believed that life had possibilities. I came from class-ridden

Foundations

Rediscovering Heat Shock Proteins
Rediscovering Heat Shock Proteins
Courtesy of Pramod SrivastavaOften in science, what seem to be definitive answers lead to new questions, which lead to new answers and the cycle goes on. That's what happened when I came across heat shock proteins. I was a postdoc at Sloan Kettering in 1985, and I had just received the results of the N-terminal sequence of gp96, a tumor-rejection antigen, which I had purified from a mouse sarcoma, and earlier from a rat hepatoma. With the sequence in hand, I felt confident that I had just solved

Calendar

April Calendar
April Calendar
Compiled by Christine Bahls and Maria Anderson

Feature

Science Museums Exhibit Renewed Vigor
Science Museums Exhibit Renewed Vigor
Erica P. JohnsonApreschool girl with black braids presses a finger to a disk that twists a brightly lit DNA model, transforming its ladder shape into a double helix. Her head bops from side to side in wonder as the towering DNA coils and straightens. When a bigger boy claims her place, the girl joins meandering moms and dads with their charges as they twist knobs, open flaps, and simply stare at flashing helixes and orange information boards: all a part of the museum exhibit called "Genome: The

Research

Toothsome Directions In Research
Toothsome Directions In Research
Compiled by Eugene RussoIn the 1940s, the federal government created the National Institute for Dental Research in response to a pressing need: young men with an insufficient number of opposing teeth. World War II draftees were failing their physical examinations due to inadequate choppers, which was a combat concern because young soldiers needed strong opposing teeth when, say, pulling grenade pins. The institute, renamed the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in 199
In Saliva Veritas
In Saliva Veritas
© 1998 Arnie RosnerHuman Saliva magnified 100×A trip to the doctor's office generally entails a deposit of blood or urine from which some diagnoses can be produced after a laborious process. Now, groups of biologists and engineers are working to make disease diagnoses quicker and more efficient by giving credit to a less conventional humor – the Rodney Dangerfield of bodily fluids – spit.In the past year and a half, the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of
Mice Model a Silent Killer
Mice Model a Silent Killer
EARLY LESIONS:© 2003 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory PressEarly stage pancreatic lesions in Pdx1-Cre; LSL-Kras; Ink/Arflox/lox animals. (A) A low-grade PanIN lesion. (B) A low-grade preinvasive ductal lesion. (C) A high-grade preinvasive ductal lesion. (D) Early focus of pancreatic adenocarci-noma with both ductal and anaplastic components. (E) A high-grade PanIN lesion with no adenocarcinoma foci. (F) A high-grade PanIN lesion (asterisk) surrounded by anaplastic tumor cells.Aquiet killer, pa
AMYLOID REPRIEVE
AMYLOID REPRIEVE
AMYLOID REPRIEVE:Courtesy of the National Institute on AgingAmyloid β is the cleavage product of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). Long suspected a culpable player in Alzheimer disease progression due to the plaques it forms, Aβ may have a physiological role depressing neuronal function.Recent work has revealed a potential physiological role for amyloid β, often considered a major culprit in Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. This suggests that Aβ, an ordinarily upstanding prot
How Sex May Have Started it All
How Sex May Have Started it All
STRANDED SEX:© 2003 Elsevier ScienceIn this two-pot recombination scheme a ribozyme is incubated with an excess of RNA substrate A-B. The 3' portion of the substrate is covalently attached to the 3' end of the ribozyme in a "pick-up-the-tail" (PUTT) reaction. When the ribozyme is purified and incubated with an excess of substrate C-D, recombination (REC) of the substrates results in the product C-B. Exogenous GTP marginally improves recombination frequency which ranges from 5% to 45%. (From

Hot Paper

Concocting a Knock-Out Punch for HIV-1
Concocting a Knock-Out Punch for HIV-1
RISCY BUSINESS:Courtesy of Roger J. Pomerantz and the Center for Human Virology and Biodefense ©2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Dicer cleaves exogenous or endogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) into 21–25-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNA). The siRNAs then form into ATP-containing RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs), which in combination with helicase lead to siRNA unwinding. Unwound siRNAs bind target RNAs and prime synthesis of new dsRNA by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (R

Briefs

Pass the Tanning Oligos
Pass the Tanning Oligos
Sunbathers at the beach could soon be applying DNA for protection rather than the highest SPF. Researchers led by David Goukassian and Barbara Gilchrest at the Boston University School of Medicine found that topical application of oligonucleotides increases DNA-repair after extensive UV exposure, thus reducing incidence of skin cancer in mice.Goukassian's team applied thymidine dinucleotide (pTT) to hairless mice prone to skin cancer.1 The topical DNA treatment upregulated and activated p53, enh
Bipolar Understanding
Bipolar Understanding
Courtesy of Eric Robert RussellRecent gene-expression findings may energize the search for a mechanism in bipolar disorder pathology. Chris-tine Konradi and collaborators, from McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., and Harvard Medical School, showed that of 43 genes downregulated in brain specimens from subjects with bipolar disorder, 18 encode mitochondrial proteins.1 These results bolster a hypothesis put forth almost four years ago by Tadafumi Kato, currently at the RIKEN Brain Research Institute
Knowing When to Call It Quits
Knowing When to Call It Quits
© Eye of Science/Photo ResearchersWhen a yeast cell falls onto an apple in the spring, life is good. Plentiful food and good weather maintain growth and division. But the good times don't last forever. "When resources dwindle due to competition, it makes sense to kill the less fit cells," says Frank Madeo of the Institute for Physiological Chemistry in Tübingen, Germany.Madeo and colleagues have mimicked the apple scenario in cultures to show that old Saccharo myces cerevisiae cells vo

Software Watch

GMOD Project Rolls Out First Alpha Release
GMOD Project Rolls Out First Alpha Release
For every model organism whose genome is being sequenced, a community of researchers clamors for the data. Model organism databases often provide the necessary interface to such information, but they can be difficult to set up, maintain, and make conversant with other databases. Enter the Generic Model Organism Database (GMOD) project http://www.gmod.org.GMOD's long-term goal, says project coordinator Scott Cain, is to create a suite of application tools (e.g., for browsing, curation, annotation

Tech Watch

Exelixis Releases Fruit Fly Stocks
Exelixis Releases Fruit Fly Stocks
South San Francisco-based Exelixis has released nearly 18,000 strains of Drosophila melanogaster to the academic community. The collection is part of a larger assembly of 29,000 strains created by transposon insertion, and it represents, according to an editorial accompanying the release, "what may be the largest public release of scientific material in history."123"We had many long discussions within the company about how best to further develop the technology, and in the end we decided to rele

Patent Watch

Lights, Locus, Flower!
Lights, Locus, Flower!
Courtesy of National Sciences FoundationWhat if next Valentine's Day, you could time the flowers you bought to blossom just as your spouse walked in the door? If you enjoy giving bouquets of Arabidopsis, you're in luck: A new patent held by a group at the University of Wisconsin will let you slow down the flowering of that organism. The patent (US 6,693,228) covers the Flowering Locus C1 (FLC1) gene, which contains a MADS box domain, and a method by which it is connected to an expressible promot

Technology

RNAi Inches Toward the Clinic
RNAi Inches Toward the Clinic
Courtesy of Cenix BioScience (S. Doering)When Andrew Fire of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC, set out to understand some confusing results obtained with antisense RNA in 1998,1 he could not have known he was firing the opening salvo in a biotech revolution. What he stumbled upon was a potent and simple way to knock down gene expression in eukaryotic cells called RNA interference, or RNAi.Researchers in academia and industry alike hitched their wagons to RNAi's star, and in the years f
Choosing the Right Bug
Choosing the Right Bug
SELECTION STRATEGY:Courtesy of David McNeillThe genetically altered bacteria on this plate are easily detected under ultraviolet light. Escherichia coli were transformed with a plas-mid encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP), which makes the colonies fluoresce under UV light. The transforming plasmid also encodes resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin, which allows the cells to grow on this antibiotic-containing agar dish. But in this image, the ampicillin resistance is leaking out of the
Affymetrix Showcases Third-Party Microarray Analysis Software
Affymetrix Showcases Third-Party Microarray Analysis Software
Like it or not, biologists have to deal increasingly in informatics as their experiments generate ever larger and more complex data sets. Few laboratories have the resources to develop their own microarray analysis software, so they must use one of the many commercial packages. With the list of options growing fast, Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., one of the world's leading makers of DNA microarrays, hit on a novel way to help its customers sample the field: They held a series of Web-based se

Tools and Technology

Scaling Down Flow Cytometry
Scaling Down Flow Cytometry
Courtesy of BD BiosciencesSan Jose, Calif.-based BD Biosciences Immunocytometry Systems http://www.bdbiosciences.com has introduced a new benchtop high-content analysis system. Designed to handle 96-well plates, the BD FACSArray™ Bioanalyzer uses red and green laser excitation and offers six-parameter detection. Up to 15,000 events can be screened per second, and the system, which features digital signal processing, can run one plate in less than 35 minutes, says Tony Ward, director of pha
Automated Microscopy Gets a New Shape
Automated Microscopy Gets a New Shape
Courtesy of TILL PhotonicsRainer Uhl, CEO of Gräfelfing, Germany-based TILL Photonics http://www.till-photonics.com, laments that while the field of microscopy has evolved dramatically over the last century, the classical light microscope itself has not. New applications such as confocal and multiphoton microscopy were adapted to the microscopes rather than vice versa, placing constraints on the user.Uhl and colleagues, in cooperation with the BioImaging Zentrum of the University of Munich,

Tip Trove

The Culture of Mentors
The Culture of Mentors
Cultural differences can cause friction. "Mental models" also interfere with respect and communication, and can be both generational and gender-based as well. For instance, some senior staff assume that anything less than full-time devotion to a career during one's twenties demonstrates lack of commitment; they therefore do not fully mentor or strongly encourage women or "Generation Xer's" with family responsibilities, even though science is increasingly dependent on the intellectual capital of

Policy Place

State-Funded Stem Cell Research
State-Funded Stem Cell Research
New Jersey put it in the budget. California may put it on a ballot. The two states announced in recent weeks that they are looking to give stem cell research a cash infusion.A group in California is trying to get a bond initiative on the ballot in November that would provide $3 billion (US)-roughly $300 million per year for 10 years-to support stem cell research. And if the New Jersey budget proposal passes, it would provide $6.5 million in the first year, and an additional $50 million in public

Data Points

Budgeting for Health
Budgeting for Health
Power fiveFrancesco FiondellaThe five biggest institutes command more than half of the NIH's total funding:Next in rankThe next largest agencies still boast billion-dollar budgets:On the tail endThe remaining divisions of the NIH account for about a fifth of its total budget. A snapshot of some:Sources: Labor-HHS bill (HR 2660); NIH Office of Budget- Francesco Fiondella

Profession

Do-it-Yourself Manufacturing
Do-it-Yourself Manufacturing
Richard WebbyCourtesy of St. Jude Children's Research HospitalWhen Richard Webby heard through the grapevine that his employer, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., planned to build a factory on the hospital campus, he didn't express much interest, assuming it was a business decision. "It was a shrug your shoulders kind of reaction," says the virologist who is part of the World Health Organization's network of influenza experts.But when the Asian bird flu erupted in 2003, he
Reform Plan Enrages Italian Researchers
Reform Plan Enrages Italian Researchers
Courtesy of Paola AgazziTrooping through streets alongside empty hearses, Italian postdoctoral researchers mark what they consider the death of their role in the country's universities. Others cover themselves under sheets as a symbol of their ghostly presence in the country's higher education world. They are joined by associate and ordinary professors who display unmistakable protest signs: "Good-bye, Moratti."Letizia Brichetto Arnaboldi Moratti, Italian Minister of Education, University and Sc
MRC Director Calls for Discourse
MRC Director Calls for Discourse
digitalvisionThe UK Medical Research Council's major reform of its grants system, announced last month, has assuaged many scientists, but some still question the new CEO's radical plans to persuade researchers to communicate with the public. The CEO, Oxford University neuroscientist Colin Blakemore, has suffered personally at the hands of animal rights activists. To help researchers avoid such controversies in the future, he proposes that a scientist's public communication plans be evaluated by
Tracking a Textbook: From Idea to Publication
Tracking a Textbook: From Idea to Publication
PROPOSAL PATHWAYSelling YourselfPart of a prospectus is convincing the publisher that you are the right person to write the proposed textbook. Teaching experience is a plus; prestigious publications do not show that you can explain mitosis to a freshman. In your sample chapter, show concise writing that is inclusive, yet innovative.WRITING AND REWRITING CYCLERegarding ReviewsThe goal is to satisfy reviewers (course instructors) while retaining the flavor and rationale of your book. Reviewers can

Postdoc Talk

Staffing for Science
Staffing for Science
Courtesy of Daniel E. KolkerThe generous funding of US academic labs has helped dramatically advance our understanding of diseases and their underlying biology. But is the structure of r the academic lab well-suited to optimize research? During the past 10 years work at academic and industrial labs, I have observed that the present model impedes both the progress of research and the development of young scientists.Research labs produce and disseminate new scientific knowledge. Under the current

Science Rules

Feared Rules Save Research Time
Feared Rules Save Research Time
File PhotoThe rush to put new rules in place for handling potentially dangerous materials in US laboratories last year put many in the research community on edge.Long before the prospect of bioterrorism became a national worry, scientists studying virulent pathogens had worked out safety standards to make sure the ugliest of bugs were not let loose on the public. The fear was that government regulators would add only more paperwork and costs to the process, getting in the way of research.Regulat

Closing Bell

Long Live the Dodo!
Long Live the Dodo!
I have never thought stuffed birds make good museum exhibits. A stuffed bird looks exactly that – stuffed. Compared to mammals or arthropods, birds lack physical diversity; their behavior and song are far more interesting, but neither survives the stuffing process. Which is why, on childhood trips to London's Natural History Museum, I'd always hurry through the bird gallery to get to the insects beyond (dead insects are nearly as good as live ones). However, one particular avian exhibit wo