October 1996

News

Proposed Human Genome Diversity Project Still Plagued By Controversy And Questions
Proposed Human Genome Diversity Project Still Plagued By Controversy And Questions
The effort to collect samples of DNA from diverse populations strives to overcome alleged public misunderstanding of its aims. SIDEBAR: For More Information MISINTERPRETED: "We need to show that this is just not a group of self-perpetuating insiders," says HGDP committee chairman Ken Weiss. Members of a National Research Council (NRC) panel evaluating the issues-both controversial and prosaic-surrounding the proposed Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) have their hands full. Conceived abou
President Clinton's Science Policies Draw Cheers, Jeers From Observers
President Clinton's Science Policies Draw Cheers, Jeers From Observers
After serving as chairman of the United States Senate subcommittee on science, technology, and space, Vice President Al Gore brought a technological and environmental bent to the White House. In addition to Gore's background, Clinton's 1992 pledges to build up the country's technology infrastructure, shift some R&D spending away from defense, and "significantly strengthen" the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, may have raised expectations that a Clinton presidency would b
Ongoing Enzyme Patent Dispute May Have Ramifications For Academic Researchers
Ongoing Enzyme Patent Dispute May Have Ramifications For Academic Researchers
AT ISSUE: Promega Corp.'s sale of Taq polymerase for PCR has riled Hoffmann-La Roche. It's David vs. Goliath in a battle of biblical proportions over the patents for a crucial enzyme in molecular biology. The Goliath in this case is the century-old health-care giant Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. The Basel, Switzerland-based company employs 50,500 people and had 1995 sales of 14.7 billion Swiss francs ($11.8 billion). David is the Promega Corp. of Madison, Wis., a biological reagent company with 420
Scientific Enterprise At Critical Juncture, Say Panelists, Researchers
Scientific Enterprise At Critical Juncture, Say Panelists, Researchers
MISCONDUCT POLICY: University of Illinois' C.K. Gunsalus cites problems of oversight in academia. Is science in crisis? Scientists, historians, administrators, and others have debated this issue over the last few decades. The controversial topic was the impetus for a September 19 conference at George Washington University (GWU). Panelists at the day-long symposium, titled "Science in Crisis at the Millennium," think something has gone awry. Keith Yamamoto, University of California, San Franc
Perot Is Quiet On Science
Perot Is Quiet On Science
THIRD WHEEL: Ross Perot, the Reform Party candidate, does not include science as one of the high-priority issues that must be addressed by the country's next president. H. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire and Reform Party candidate who is making a second straight run for the presidency, declines to provide a specific position on science and technology. In a faxed response to a request from The Scientist, the Perot campaign writes: "Our nation faces many challenges as we prepare for the 21st
For More Information
For More Information
Human Genome Diversity Project http://www-leland.stanford.edu/group/morrinst/HGDP.html Rural Advancement Foundation International http://www.charm.net/~rafi/rafihome.html UNESCO Report http://www.biol.tsukuba.ac.jp/~macer/PG.html Cultural Survival, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Mass., that works with indigenous peoples http://www.cs.org. The summer 1996 issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly is almost exclusively devoted to the issues surrounding HGDP. Human Genome Organiz
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - October 14, 1996
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - October 14, 1996
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Ovary steroid 8 Anatomize 9 Adjective for isomer 11 Molecule that stores energy during respiration: abbr 12 Appendages used by bacteria for having sex 13 1980 chenmistry Nobelist Paul 15 Organic compound containing a hydroxyl group 17 Disease infecting more than 200 million people a year 19 Its atomic number is 33 22 Part of "MRI" 24 It carries the code to the cytoplasm: abbr 25 Ames, for one 26 ____ syndrome 29 Livery? 30 Outermost membrane
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle Answers - October 14, 1996
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle Answers - October 14, 1996
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Ovary steroid 8 Anatomize 9 Adjective for isomer 11 Molecule that stores energy during respiration: abbr 12 Appendages used by bacteria for having sex 13 1980 chenmistry Nobelist Paul 15 Organic compound containing a hydroxyl group 17 Disease infecting more than 200 million people a year 19 Its atomic number is 33 22 Part of "MRI" 24 It carries the code to the cytoplasm: abbr 25 Ames, for one 26 ____ syndrome 29 Livery? 30 Outermost membrane

Opinion

An Open Letter To Frustrated Scientists Looking For A Job: There Is Hope
An Open Letter To Frustrated Scientists Looking For A Job: There Is Hope
Illustration: John Overmyer If you feel anxious and depressed about your prospects for landing a permanent job in science, you are not alone. Reports of a substantial oversupply of science-related Ph.D.'s have been featured in many scientific journals as well as in popular publications such as Newsweek and the Washington Post. In a recent poll of young members of the American Geophysical Union, a 33,000-member scientific society based in Washington, D.C., more than 60 percent describe the cur

Commentary

Finding Ways To Beat The Productivity Paradox
Finding Ways To Beat The Productivity Paradox
Scientists as a rule are very busy, conducting experiments and analysis, plotting data, giving talks, writing, and advising. However, much of their work never makes it into print. A large percentage of published abstracts never become finished papers. Drawers full of data are collected but never analyzed. This is the productivity paradox in science: Why, among professionals whose time is largely under their own control, is so much of their effort apparently wasted? I believe we can discover t

Letter

Social Constructs
Social Constructs
T.L. Gilbert, who thinks that scientific fact is a language-based social construct (The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 12), is actually beginning to think like a physicist. For ages, physicists have agreed with Gilbert's example that meters and seconds (and kilograms, and the imperialist feet and pounds mass) are arbitrary. Hence they use "natural" units, by taking ratios with natural constants. As an example, one measures velocities by comparing them with the greatest velocity-that of light. I
N = 1, Fortuitous Effects, And AIDS Research
N = 1, Fortuitous Effects, And AIDS Research
A recent article on xenotransplantation (R. Finn, The Scientist, Aug. 19, 1996, page 1) and two responses to my commentary (M. Jasienski, The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 10), which was critical of a single-subject baboon bone-marrow transplant trial, prompt me to explicate some methodological issues further. What insights can a single-subject study provide? While, as pointed out by J.E. Janosky (The Scientist, May 27, 1996, page 12), there could be some room for N = 1 studies, J.G. Llaurado
Interdisciplinary Research
Interdisciplinary Research
Isn't it ironic that the biology scientists receiving MacArthur fellowships [K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 1; T.W. Durso, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 3] are interested in broadening their studies to areas combining disciplines while university administrations are subdividing disciplines? My own university (the University of Arizona) has subdivided the old biological sciences into (1) ecology and evolutionary biology; (2) microbiology and immunology; and (3) molecular
Scientific Reviewing
Scientific Reviewing
Eugene Garfield's commentary ("An Old Proposal For A New Profession: Scientific Reviewing," The Scientist, Aug. 19, 1996, page 12) elegantly reiterated the importance of scientific reviewing. However, the commentary did not recognize that one of the main reasons there are not many reviews from young scientists is the difficulty the not-yet-established have in getting reviews published. I, like many other young scientists, would love to take a break from heavy bench work to write review article
Progress In The Biological Sciences
Progress In The Biological Sciences
Regarding "How To Spur Scientific Revolution: Amass Copious Data, Keep It Simple" (K. Hopkin, The Scientist, Aug. 19, 1996, page 18): Thomas Kuhn's paradigms and the idea that little problems with a theory result eventually in a scientific revolution may fit for some accomplishments in physics and chemistry, but they do not chart developments in the biological sciences very well. Without a microscope, would we know anything about sperms? Without a developed X-ray film in Rosalind Franklin's de

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
The article "Citation Records Show U.S.'s Top Schools In Clinical Medicine Research" (The Scientist, Oct. 30, 1995, page 14), reprinted from the Institute for Scientific Information newsletter Science Watch, omitted the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. This institution should have been ranked eighth in output of clinical medicine papers during the five-year period 1990-94 and 24th in impact (citations per paper). The complete statistics for Baylor College of Medicine in clinical medicine,

Research

Citation Records Reveal Top Australian Universities In 21 Fields
Citation Records Reveal Top Australian Universities In 21 Fields
Top Three Australian Universities In 21 Fields, Ranked by Total Citations, 1990-94 Top Three Australian Universities in 21 Fields, Ranked by Citation Impact, 1990-1994 Editor's Note: Noting that Australian institutes are becoming more prominent in the world research scene, the newsletter Science Watch, published by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), recently analyzed the citation records of that country's universities for the first time. This reprint from the J
Top Three Australian Universities In 21 Fields Ranked By Citation Impact, 1990-1994
Top Three Australian Universities In 21 Fields Ranked By Citation Impact, 1990-1994
Field123 PhysicsUniversity of Queensland (3.5) University of Adelaide (3.2) Australian National University(2.8) ChemistryInstitute of Advanced Studies (4.1) Australian National University(4.0) University of Sydney (3.7) Materials ScienceAustralian National University(2.7) University of Sydney (2.4) University of Western Australia(2.0) EngineeringInstitute of Advanced Studies (2.2) Australian National University(2.0) University of Newcastle (1.9) GeosciencesInstitute of Advanced Studies (5.7
Top Three Australian Universities In 21 Fields, Ranked By Total Citations, 1990-94
Top Three Australian Universities In 21 Fields, Ranked By Total Citations, 1990-94
Field123 PhysicsAustralian National University (2,790) Institute of Advanced Studies (2,305) University of Melbourne (1,844) ChemistryAustralian National University (2,596) Institute of Advanced Studies (2,347) University of Sydney (2,227) Materials ScienceUniversity of Sydney ( 340) University of New South Wales ( 330) Australian National University (166) EngineeringAustralian National University( 895) University of New South Wales ( 855) University of Sydney ( 616) GeosciencesAustralian N

Hot Paper

Endocrinology
Endocrinology
Edited by: Thomas W. Durso 'MAJOR IMPORTANCE': Eric Smith evaluated a man shown to be estrogen-resistant. E.P. Smith, J. Boyd, G.R. Frank, H. Takahashi, R.M. Cohen, B. Specker, T.C. Williams, D.B. Lubahn, K.S. Korach, "Estrogen resistance caused by a mutation in the estrogen-receptor gene in a man," New England Journal of Medicine, 331:1056-61, 1994. (Cited in more than 50 publications as of August 1996) Comments by Eric P. Smith, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University o
Breast Cancer Genetics
Breast Cancer Genetics
Edited By: Thomas W. Durso CLUE GENE: Barbara Weber's team and two other confirmed a link between BRCA1 and breast and ovarian cancer. L.H. Castilla, F.J. Couch, M.R. Erdos, K.F. Hoskins, K. Calzone, J.E. Garber, J. Boyd, M.B. Lubin, M.L. Deshano, L.C. Brody, F.S. Collins, B.L. Weber, "Mutations in the BRCA1 gene in families with early-onset breast and ovarian cancer," Nature Genetics, 8:387-91, 1994. (Cited in 70 publications through August 1996) Comments by Barbara L. Weber, University of

Profession

Changing Disciplines Can Offer Personal And Professional Satisfaction
Changing Disciplines Can Offer Personal And Professional Satisfaction
SIDEBAR: Online Career Information For Scientists Describing his career, Chris Fields invokes the cry of Civil War Admiral David Farragut: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Over the past 20 years, he has worked in physics, meteorology, and, now, genetics. Each career change presented new opportunities for Fields, who has a talent for data analysis. "I find it fascinating when people say they're bored with what they're doing," says Fields, chief scientific officer of newly formed Molecular
Online Career Information For Scientists
Online Career Information For Scientists
Date: October 14, 1996 Here are a few World Wide Web sites offering information or discussion on science careers. While merely a sample, this list does include Internet sites that link to other career-oriented resources: Network of Emerging Scientists (NES): http://pegasus.uthct.edu/nes/nes.html Jobs for Biomedical Scientists: http://www.wam.umd.edu/~garlandc/Jobs%20HTMLs/Home.html Scientific Career Transitions (SCT) Program: http://www.harbornet.com/biz/office/sct001.html Grants on the Worl

Technology

Biological Chromatography: It's Not Just A Tool; It's A Discipline
Biological Chromatography: It's Not Just A Tool; It's A Discipline
SELECTIVITY: Supelco's SUPELCOSIL ABZ+Plus columns works like other reverse-phase columns yet provide selectivity for polar and charged compounds. For academic researchers and scientists who produce proteins on a large scale, separating substances by chromatography has never been easier. New and improved chromatographic support media, along with fully automated, computer-controlled instruments that are becoming increasingly user-friendly, have made it much simpler for even the most analytical

New Products

New Products
New Products
Acetylcholine Transporter Antibody The new goat polyclonal antibody to vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) has been used for immunohistochemistry on rat and mouse tissue. It labels cholinergic cell bodies in the septum and nucleus basalis as well as cholinergic fibers in the brain stem and spinal cord. The antibody is claimed to be useful in Alzheimer's disease research because acetylcholine (Ach) is one of the first transmitters to be reduced in this disease. It also has application

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
As Congress readied for recess, approaching the end of the 1996 fiscal year on October 1, it hurriedly passed several spending bills for fiscal year 1997. Some, such as the Veterans Administration, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies bills, included provisions for various R&D agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Other agency budgets, such as that of the Department of Health and Human Services, weren't