News

Stem Cell Discoveries Stir Debate
Stem Cell Discoveries Stir Debate
Editor's Note: This is the first of two articles on questions raised by recent stem cell discoveries. The second article, focusing on various organs and the nervous system, will appear in the Nov. 27 issue of The Scientist. Researchers first isolated embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from mouse blastocysts almost 20 years ago, and a paper announcing the discovery of human ESCs emerged in 1998. Adult-derived stem cells (ASCs) have since become the rage in certain quarters of biology, with unexpected--
A Double Life for a Very Visible Human
A Double Life for a Very Visible Human
Joseph Paul Jernigan, 38, executed Texas murderer, flourishes in his resurrection in cyberspace and shows every sign of fulfilling his promise as a peerless instructor of anatomy and unique teacher of surgeons. He is also a champion sportsman whose versatility no single mortal can match. Jernigan, a.k.a. the National Library of Medicine's Visible Male, came under the spotlight of research medicine in 1994, in the form of a 15-gigabyte dataset of digitized photographs of 1,878 coronal slic
An Orphan Disease Gets Adopted
An Orphan Disease Gets Adopted
Courtesy of Ed Rowton, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research An anopheline mosquito taking a blood meal. Researchers and physicians, open your guides to rare diseases, for that may be the only place you'll encounter Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. There you also will find Kabuki Make-up Syndrome, Split-Hand Deformity, Stiff Person Syndrome, Tangier Disease, and Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. These are among thousands of "orphan diseases," originally so called because they weren't "adopted" by spon
Stepping Up Mouse Sequencing
Stepping Up Mouse Sequencing
At a featured symposium of last month's American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) meeting in Philadelphia, Bob Waterston, director of the genome sequencing center at Washington University in St. Louis, reviewed how and why the Human Genome Project (HGP) accelerated in 1998. Having at that point generated a disappointing 10 percent of the total human sequence, sequencing centers had to greatly scale up efforts in order to reach this past summer's milestone "draft" ahead of schedule. First, said W
News Notes
News Notes
SIDS Cause Discovered? While child care experts have suspected for some time that the prone sleeping position of infants can be related to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the reason for this major cause of postneonatal death in the developed world has long been a mystery. Based on previous work that implicated Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that colonizes the gastric lining (C.P. Pattison, B.J. Marshall, "Proposed link between Helicobacter pylori and sudden infant death syndrome," Medic

Letter

Ph.D. Teachers (3)
Ph.D. Teachers (3)
I applaud Dr. Morris's commentary. He identifies a critical problem in our secondary schools and presents an interesting solution (namely, letting newly minted Ph.D.s teach in our high schools if the barriers established by the local school districts can be surmounted). There are three points that I would like to offer in this regard. First, the primary love of our best and brightest new scientists is research and discovery. It is unlikely that a significant number of them are willing to aba
Ph.D. Teachers (2)
Ph.D. Teachers (2)
I basically agree with your assumptions in the article "Putting Ph.D.s at the head of the class," especially that it is difficult to recruit new Ph.D.s as K-12 teachers. I feel there is an additional supply of Ph.D.s who could be recruited far more easily for K-12 teaching, namely retirees. After more than 25 years in an industrial R&D laboratory or plant, the experience one has could be invaluable to especially high-school-level students, who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives
Ph.D Teachers (1)
Ph.D Teachers (1)
Professor Ronald Morris's suggestion of converting Ph.D.s to teachers1 is a great idea. But it won't work. As a former public school teacher (four years) who has been a scientist for over 30 years, I can see major obstacles that will be overcome in only a few cases: * The students (the most important variable in the equation): You cannot lecture to public school students as if they were motivated undergraduates. Most of the Ph.D.s I know would not know how to handle disciplinary problems. And i

Commentary

Keeping Aging Minds Sharp
Keeping Aging Minds Sharp
"I'm having a senior moment." We've all heard that one, and the countless other jokes about getting old. In our culture, it is generally accepted that older people will gradually begin to forget things or become less logical in their thinking. We take it for granted that aging minds grow a little fuzzy around the edges. But exciting new research indicates that growing older might not necessarily have to mean growing mentally slower. New studies are providing breakthroughs in our understan

Research

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: The Next Big Thing?
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: The Next Big Thing?
Courtesy of David Hill, ART Reproductive Center Inc.Two separated blastomeres subjected to FISH analysis to check the chromosomes. In early October, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) made headlines when a Colorado couple used assisted reproductive technology (ART) to have a baby named Adam, whose umbilical cord stem cells could cure his six-year-old sister Molly's Fanconi anemia.1 When Adam Nash was a ball of blastomere cells, researchers at the Reproductive Genetics Institute at Illinois
Research Notes
Research Notes
Editor's Note: This is an extended version of the Research Notes that appeared in the print edition of The Scientist. A CF-Sinusitis Connection Some sufferers of chronic sinusitis can attribute their debilitating headaches to carrying a mutation in the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene, according to striking results from a study at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (XinJing Wang et al., "Mutation in the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis

Hot Paper

Sorting the Messages
Sorting the Messages
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Richard S. Lewis, associate professor of molecular and cellular physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine. 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. R.E. Dolmetsch, K. Xu, and R.S. Lewis, "Calcium oscillations increase the efficiency and specificity of gene expression," Nature, 392:933-6, April 30, 1998. (Cited in about 170 papers s
The Molecular Clock
The Molecular Clock
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed S. Blair Hedges, evolutionary biologist, Pennsylvania State University. 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. S. Kumar, S. Blair Hedges, "A molecular timescale for vertebrate evolution," Nature, 392:917-20, April 30, 1998. (Cited in more than 170 papers since publication) Thirty-five years ago, researchers proffered the remarkable hypoth

Technology

It's All in the Backbone
It's All in the Backbone
Boston Probes' Micro Dx Probe in a FISH assay Molecular biologists who happen upon the Boston Probes Web site might grin at what seems, at first glance, to be an apparent typo. "Partner with the Leader in PNA Technology," the site announces conspicuously. But there is no mistake. PNA (peptide nucleic acid) molecules are exciting and widely studied synthetic compounds with unique qualities and broad potential applications. With the recent release of its first commercial products, Boston Probes I
Special Delivery
Special Delivery
Active Motif's Chariot reagent enables rapid protein transduction The delivery of biomolecules into cells has typically been achieved through the use of chemicals, electroporation, or viral vectors. Each of these techniques has its drawbacks: for example, calcium phosphate- mediated transfections suffer from low reproducibility, electroporation-based transfections can be cytotoxic, and viral vector-based transfections pose safety concerns and can be time-consuming. In addition, these techniques

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
See You Later Ambion of Austin, Texas, introduces RNAlater™, a tissue storage reagent that protects cellular RNA from degradation before RNA isolation and eliminates the need to freeze samples immediately in liquid nitrogen for later processing. The aqueous reagent does not affect the integrity of the stored RNA and is compatible with many tissues and with all RNA protocols tested. RNAlater is available in 100 ml and 500 ml sizes. Ambion, (800) 888-8804, www.ambion.com   Conven

Technology Profile

Escaping the Heat
Escaping the Heat
Nonradioactive Kinase Assay Kits Safety concerns and economic considerations have fueled a growing trend in the biomedical sciences: to shun the use of radioactivity when practical. Nonradioactive options for numerous applications have become widely available, including a number of nonradioactive kinase assay kits. Assays from different manufacturers employ a wide range of strategies. Most of these kits utilize antibodies, but two nonimmunochemical approaches use fluorescently tagged substrates
Research Tools for Plant Nucleic Acids
Research Tools for Plant Nucleic Acids
Plant Nucleic Acid Purification Kits Plant Nucleic Acid Purification Kits (continued) QIAGEN DNeasy Procedure Bio-Rad's portable Helios Gene Gun System By most accounts the world's population will increase to about 8 billion by 2025.1 Ironically, as population increases, arable land acres committed to agriculture are slowly but surely dwindling. Although major inroads, such as precision agriculture and resource conservation, are being made in farming technology, these new agricultural methods

Profession

Researchers in Administration
Researchers in Administration
Much of the administration of the scientific endeavor can be neatly placed into two groups: those who work at acquiring the money, and those who work at bestowing the money. Mostly at universities and colleges, the acquirers direct offices of sponsored research, large research departments, or can be vice presidents of research or graduate schools. The bestowers are primarily program officers at such government agencies as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Organizations are welcome to submit information for future listings by contacting kdevine@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Francis Collins Preaches to the Choir Since the staged June 26 unveiling of the "working draft" of the human genome sequence, National Human Genome Research Institute director Francis Collins has hit the meeting circuit, not to hype what was, but to get people thinking about where it is all headed. He spoke to a packed audience at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual conference in Orlando Oct. 25-28 on "the golden path"--the search among the 3 billion bases to distinguish protei

Opinion

Scientific Medicine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Scientific Medicine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Illustration: A. Canamucio There has never been a better time, technologically, for our federal health agencies to launch a significant effort to prevent and control a chronic disease that has inflicted suffering on mankind for centuries. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the current name for an illness with many names and a long history. In 1681 Thomas Sydenham, founder of modern clinical, scientific, and public health medicine, described a disease spectrum identical to it called "muscular rheu