News

Rice Genome Gets a Boost
Rice Genome Gets a Boost
Courtesy of MonsantoRice, the most widely consumed staple food grain, is harvested on about 10 percent of the world's arable land. Researchers are cranking out genomes faster than many scientists can digest them. Just 10 days after publication of Drosophila's sequence (see page 10), Monsanto Co. announced it will soon release a rough draft of the rice genome containing 400 million bases of DNA. Rice is the world's most important food crop. The International Rice Research Institute in the Phi
Genomic Strategies Target Bacteria
Genomic Strategies Target Bacteria
Bacteria are winning, and infectious disease doctors are worried. Disease-causing microbes are increasingly able to defeat the best antimicrobial drugs available. No "superbug" has yet emerged, resistant to all antibiotics and therefore untreatable. But that day may not be too far off. "There's increasing panic among infectious disease specialists,'' admits Jonathan Blum, a clinician and researcher at Harvard Medical School. Particularly worrisome to those specialists is a strain k
Case at VCU Brings Ethics To Forefront
Case at VCU Brings Ethics To Forefront
When the federal Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR) ordered Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to halt all human subject research in January, it was another punitive measure in that agency's 14-month-long series of actions that sent a clear message to the research community: Researchers spending federal tax dollars should diligently consider ethics in their work. This particular case, however, especially troubled genetics researchers. It involved the father of a research
Regulating Researchers' 'Picks and Shovels'
Regulating Researchers' 'Picks and Shovels'
In December of 1999, after digesting three months of public comment on a preliminary draft, the National Institutes of Health released the final version of a policy entitled "Principles and Guidelines for Sharing of Biomedical Research Resources."1 The policy advises NIH grantees on, among other things, the appropriate way to disseminate unique research tools--everything from cell lines to reagents to animal models to laboratory equipment to computer software--that arise out of grant funding. It
News Notes
News Notes
Women in Cancer Research Women in Cancer Research (WICR) will dissolve as an independent organization and become a council in the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). In essence WICR is going back to its roots. According to Mary Jean Sawey, immediate past president of WICR and research associate professor of radiation oncology at Temple University Medical School, several years ago many female scientists felt they needed a vehicle to promote advancement of women in cancer-related bio
Mars in 2018: Travel Light
Mars in 2018: Travel Light
The word astronomical aptly describes current price estimates for a manned jaunt to Mars: $40,000 per pound. "That's an expensive can of Coke" for astronauts making the trip, says Brian Sauser of NASA's New Jersey Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT). So NSCORT's mission is not to figure out how to ship food, air, and energy to Mars, but to create and re-create it up there. Speaking at a recent meeting of Science Writers in New York, the New York science writer's associati

Letter

Multiple Submissions Won't Work
Multiple Submissions Won't Work
Raphael Stricker and Billi Goldberg suggest that, based on a single unfortunate experience they have had with the peer-review system, they should be allowed to submit a manuscript to multiple journals simultaneously.1 I hope this idea is rapidly quashed. All professional scientists who are journal reviewers or editors will know that the volume of manuscripts that circulate within the publishing system is already uncomfortably high. Each year, I review about 75 manuscripts, and I edit another 20
The Underpublishing of Science and Technology Results
The Underpublishing of Science and Technology Results
In a recent proposal to compensate journal peer reviewers,1 I emphasized the role of peer review as a strong quality filter. In response, Alexander Berezin states that without peer review, "scientists will likely publish less."2 Unfortunately, his envisioned scenario would, in fact, open the floodgates to lower-quality publications. Though the belief exists that there is too much data being placed in the literature due to publication pressure, there is actually a very modest amount of S&a
The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method
Steve Bunk's recent essay on curiosity and the scientific method1 was both enlightening and thought-provoking. Perhaps we can gain further insight on this issue from an examination of the grant-writing process. For years, scientists have had to convince their peers and the public that a proposed research plan would ultimately have some value. Our objective is to prove the underlying utility of the basic research by suggesting a likely and practical application of the knowledge we will acquire.

Commentary

Foreign Language Editorials Should Be Translated for the Web
Foreign Language Editorials Should Be Translated for the Web
Over the years I've heard complaints from scientists abroad, especially those whose native language is not English, that their views are ignored by the English-speaking world. (British researchers often complain that their literature is ignored by Americans but certainly not for linguistic reasons.) I myself regularly encounter interesting editorial comments in Spanish, French, German, and other foreign language journals that I must ignore, simply for lack of fluency. English has increas

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Perspective

Confessions of an Ex-Fly Pusher
Confessions of an Ex-Fly Pusher
Two decades ago, I sat at Herman J. Muller's desk at Indiana University, pushing flies as he once did. Looking back in light of the recent unveiling of the Drosophila melanogaster genome sequence,1 I realize that I was struggling in the Dark Ages of genetics, when we worked by inference rather than scanning databases of A,T, C, and G. If I labored in the Dark Ages, then Thomas Kaufman, my mentor, received his training in the Stone Age; Muller was positively Precambrian. Back in the 1970s,

Research

Does Multiple Sclerosis Have a Herpesvirus Connection?
Does Multiple Sclerosis Have a Herpesvirus Connection?
Editor's Note: This is the second of two articles on the difficulties of proving that a virus contributes to a disease. The first article, on mouse mammary tumor virus and human breast cancer, appeared in the April 17 issue of The Scientist.1 Donald R. Carrigan and Konstance K. Knox Someone once said that if you want to ruin your reputation, go into MS [multiple sclerosis] research, quips Jacqueline E. Friedman, a senior research associate at Rockefeller University. But Friedman, who deals wit
Research Notes
Research Notes
Cancer Research Topics Researchers discussed new approaches and promising drug targets at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in San Francisco last month, including protein delivery and metastasis. Protein Delivery: Steven Dowdy, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Washington University, reported on a way to get large proteins into cells in vivo. Typically only small molecules can cross the lipid membrane surrounding the cell. Dowdy and his colleagues circ

Hot Paper

Group Identifies Antiapoptosis Mechanism
Group Identifies Antiapoptosis Mechanism
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Albert Baldwin Jr., professor of biology and associate director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina. Data from the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that Hot Papers are cited 50 to 100 times more than the average paper of the same type and age. C.Y. Wang, M.W. Mayo, R.G. Korneluk, D.V. Goeddel, A.S. Baldwin, "NF-kB antiapoptosis: induction of TRAF1 and TRAF2 and c-IAP1 and c-IAP2 to suppress caspa
Deconstructing Tumor Necrosis Factor
Deconstructing Tumor Necrosis Factor
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Marcus E. Peter, an associate professor at the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, University of Chicago. Data from 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. C. Scaffidi, S. Fulda, A. Srinivasan, C. Friesen, F. Li, K.J. Tomaselli, K.M. Debatin, P.H. Krammer, and M.E. Peter, "Two CD95 (APO-1/Fas) signaling pathways," EMBO Journal, 17[6]:1

Technology

The Fast Lane
The Fast Lane
S&S's Fast Slide with hybridization chamber Technological advances are contributing mightily to gene expression profiling. Schleicher & Schuell Inc., in collaboration with Grace Biolabs, adds to this promising field of research with the development of FAST Slides, glass microarray slides that incorporate Fluorescent Array Surface Technology. FAST Slides are coated with a durable, proprietary nitrocellulose- based polymer designed to immobilize nucleic acids and proteins. Compatible with
Count on ProtoCOL
Count on ProtoCOL
SYNBIOSIS' ProtoCol colony and plaque counter Some researchers spend weeks designing the perfect experiment and executing it with military precision, but before celebrating the fabulous results must confront the mundane chore of counting colonies. "Did I stay in school all these years to do this?" many wonder. In light of an ever-increasing pool of available technology, there must be a more efficient way to do this, right? Right. SYNBIOSIS' ProtoCOL automated colony counter puts an end to the ma
Cover the Bases
Cover the Bases
Advances in sequencing technology now make it possible to obtain the sequence of entire genomes. SpectruMedix Corp. of State College, Pa., continues this trend with the introduction of the SCE9610, an automated 96-capillary instrument for high-throughput DNA sequencing, fragment analysis, and genotyping. The science behind the SCE9610 is based on award-winning technology developed by Edward Yeung at the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University.1 The SCE9610 uses a charge-coupled device (CCD) cam

Technology Profile

Pharmers Market
Pharmers Market
Plant Cell Culture Reagents Photo by Harry F. Holloway, CCP and Jeff McAdams. Courtesy of Carolina Biological Supply Co.Tobacco callus serves as the starting material for cell culture. The culture of plant cells began as a method to simplify studies of plant biology, but applications of this technology have become big business. Many researchers are genetically engineering plants to be hardier or more nutritious. Others want to harness the plants' ability to produce beneficial compounds at will,
Probing Questions
Probing Questions
Nucleic Acid Labeling Kits Nucleic Acid Labeling Kits (continued) Nucleic Acid Labeling Kits (continued) Genisphere's 3DNA™ Expression Array Detection Kit reagents The ability to label nucleic acids with a variety of tagged molecules has led to astonishing advances in molecular biology. Labeled DNA, RNA, and oligonucleotide probes have made possible techniques like the historic Southern blot, the northern blot, and related dot/slot-blotting procedures, in addition to in situ hybridizat

Profession

Hot Careers
Hot Careers
Resources   Biotechnology Industry Organization www.bio.com   Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. www.bms.com   Celera Genomics Group www.celera.com   Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology www.cpst.org   Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology career center ns2.faseb.org/careerweb   International Society of Computational Biology www.iscb.org   National Human Genome Research Institute www.nhgri.nih.gov   University of Michig
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Scientific Information Proliferates Are you keeping up? Keeping up with the literature can be hard for scientists, but keeping up with developments in electronic publishing in the life sciences is even harder. The plethora of new names, Web sites, and services has grown dramatically in recent months. Here are a few highlights: * PubMed Central is the barrier-free National Institutes of Health repository for peer-reviewed primary research reports in the life sciences. It began accepting journal

Opinion

Unwisdom from the Academy
Unwisdom from the Academy
Illustration: A.Canamucio A long-awaited report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of recombinant DNA-manipulated plants that was released last month has been interpreted in contradictory ways. The Washington Post reported that "crops that are genetically engineered to produce their own pesticides appear to be safe," and CBS news observed that the NAS review was "the closest thing to a seal of approval gene-altered foods have