News

Companies Developing More Uses For Iontophoresis
Companies Developing More Uses For Iontophoresis
The medical use of electricity dates back at least to the ancient Greeks, who used shocks from electric fish to treat gout. Modern medical researchers are more cautious about applying electrical energy to patients' bodies. Nevertheless, one electrically based technology, called iontophoresis, is growing in popularity, particularly among anesthesiologists and physical therapists. Increasing interest in the technique, which uses electric current to deliver drugs through the skin, has given rise t
Scientists Refining Methods For Genetically Altering Insects
Scientists Refining Methods For Genetically Altering Insects
FROM LAB TO FIELD: Florida's Marjorie Hoy holds a dish containing several hundred Western predatory mites, which she transformed by injecting a plasmid containing a gene directly into females' ovaries. Creating transgenic insects is seen by some scientists as a new way to manage and possibly eradicate enduring problems such as malaria and agricultural damage from the Mediterranean fruit fly. Researchers appear to be making significant strides in refining the technique. Meanwhile, critics are r
Cancer Research Racing Ahead Of Scientific Literacy
Cancer Research Racing Ahead Of Scientific Literacy
Most Americans say that cancer is one of the most feared diseases, and they fully support research that advances the march to a cure, recent marketing studies by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) show. But the studies also suggest that most people know little about what science has achieved, how research is done, or why certain projects are funded. OUTREACH: NCI director Richard Klausner has won praise for defending the peer-review system to the public and politicians. Concerned about resear
Genetic Testing For Cancer Presents Complex Challenges
Genetic Testing For Cancer Presents Complex Challenges
HARD NUMBERS: Penn's Fergus Couch evaluated the "actual prevelance of BRCA1 mutations" among 263 women with a family history of the disease. In the early days of the Human Genome Project, attention focused on rare disorders that strictly follow Mendel's laws of inheritance, recurring in predictable patterns within families. With many of these genes identified and mapped as the finish line nears, emphasis has shifted to genes that cause more common ills, particularly cancers, and the public has

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
"Its somewhere between a nova and a supernova . . . probably a pretty good nova."

Opinion

The Problem With Evolution: Where Have We Gone Wrong?
The Problem With Evolution: Where Have We Gone Wrong?
To paraphrase Theodosius Dobzhansky, nearly everything we study in biology makes sense only in the context of one central unifying concept: evolution. Yet evolution is still quite "controversial," as a recent article and letter in this publication demonstrated (R. Lewis, The Scientist, May 12, 1997, page 13; M.J. Behe, The Scientist, June 9, 1997, page 10). Many people are still convinced it never happened. How is it that so many scientists can claim something is so certain, and so many people

Commentary

We Must All Be Equal Partners In The New Age Of Genetics
We Must All Be Equal Partners In The New Age Of Genetics
The Human Genome Project has transformed the field of human genetics into one that holds the most promise for technological discoveries in the new millennium. In his 1997 State of the Union address, President Clinton named the Human Genome Project first in a list of advances in medical science. In a subsequent speech, he called the next 50 years the "new age of biology," as science continues to unravel the mysteries of human existence. Genetic conditions affect all economic, social, and racial

Letter

Grant Review Philosophy
Grant Review Philosophy
I should state at the outset that I have no ax to grind. I retired as a professor of physiology a few years ago and no longer apply for research grants. In my time, I have seen the system from both sides, from that of a study section and mostly as a recipient of sensible and, on occasion, senseless evaluations. Reading your report on the National Institutes of Health's new system for evaluating research grants (R. Finn, The Scientist, Aug. 18, 1997, page 1) filled me with apprehension. Investi
Glaxo-Wellcome And K-12 Education
Glaxo-Wellcome And K-12 Education
I wish to add a perspective to the good account by Kathryn S. Brown of how K-12 science education efforts are being aided by some pharmaceutical companies ("Corporate Programs Bolster Hands-on Science In Schools," The Scientist, Sept. 1, 1997, page 1). In May 1994, the Worcester Foundation's then four-year-old K-12 science education program was visited by Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Gertrude Elion, scientist emeritus at Glaxo Wellcome Co. To an overflow aud
Letters
Letters
Peter Gwynne's article ("Can You Promote Science Without Losing Respect?", The Scientist, July 21, 1997, page 1) continues discussion of a critical issue. As he implies, part of the challenge is to get scientists to acknowledge that taking on the obligation of communicating science to the public not only does not diminish their effectiveness as scientists but also can enhance it by demystifying them in the eyes of a nonscientific audience. The article cites the highly visible contributions of a

Research

Folic Acid Deficiency's Role Expands Beyond Birth Defects
Folic Acid Deficiency's Role Expands Beyond Birth Defects
Nutritionists once associated low levels of folic acid-a B vitamin found in fruits and leafy green vegetables-primarily with birth defects. But in recent years, epidemiological studies have established more correlations between folate deficiency and heart disease, cancer, and brain damage. Now, researchers are discovering mechanisms that may explain how folate deficiency contributes to these health problems. BRAIN CONNECTION: Berkeley's Bruce Ames thinks chromosome breaks caused by folate defi

Hot Paper

Molecular Genetics
Molecular Genetics
Edited by: Steve Bunk WEIGHT CONTROL: Leptin might regulate body weight by signaling the size of the fatty tissue mass, research led by Jeffrey Friedman shows. M. Maffei, J. Haalas, E. Ravussin, R.E. Pratley, G.H. Lee, Y. Zhang, H. Fei, S. Kim, R. Lallone, S. Ranganathan, P.A. Kern, J.M. Friedman, "Leptin levels in human and rodent: Measurement of plasma leptin and ob RNA in obese and weight-reduced subjects," Nature Medicine, 1:1155-61, 1995. (Cited in 196 papers through August 1997) Comments
Urology
Urology
Edited by: Steve Bunk W.J. Catalona, D.S. Smith, R.L. Wolfert, T.J. Wang, H.G. Rittenhouse, T.L. Ratliff, R.B. Nadler, "Evaluation of percentage of free serum prostate-specific antigen to improve specificity of prostate cancer screening," JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association, 274:1214-20, 1995. (Cited in 89 papers through August 1997) LESS WORK: Measuring free PSA in serum in screening for prostate cancer will necessitate fewer biopsies than will measuring total PSA, says urologis

Profession

Charisma, Content Make For Effective Scientific Presentations
Charisma, Content Make For Effective Scientific Presentations
KUDOS AT ACS: Spicing up a presentation on polymer architecture earned rave reviews for Cornell grad student Portia Yarborough. A few hours before her scheduled talk at the American Chemical Society's meeting this fall in Las Vegas, Portia Yarborough rehearsed her presentation for a friend. A chemistry graduate student at Cornell University, Yarborough wanted her talk to be perfect. Practicing, she laid out the slides, spoke slowly, and shared her research results. Her friend's comment: "Borin

Technology

Don't Be Phased by Phenol Extractions: PLG from 5 Prime -> 3 Prime Offers Worry Free Extractions
Don't Be Phased by Phenol Extractions: PLG from 5 Prime -> 3 Prime Offers Worry Free Extractions
Pour off the aqueous phase when you use Phase Lock Get. Look Ma, No Pipette! Pulling an aqueous phase off an organic phase is a truly hateful and hated task. Many an hour has been spent by many a researcher doing just that. With each extraction, a decision must be made-whether to go for purity, which often can only be achieved by leaving some aqueous behind, or for recovery by taking all you can, including some of the protein you're trying to get rid of. 5 Prime -> 3 Prime has come out with
An Eclipse You Can Look At: Nikon's Eclipse E600 Mid-Sized Microscope
An Eclipse You Can Look At: Nikon's Eclipse E600 Mid-Sized Microscope
Hocus Focus: The nikon Eclipse E600 You're sitting in the dark examining a specimen and you reach to adjust the fine focus-oops! You just moved the stage instead. This won't happen with Nikon's new Eclipse E600 microscope because its stage control is on the other side of the microscope from its coaxial course/fine focus control. It may seem like a small thing, but it's one of the features that Stella Tsirka, Research Assistant Professor at SUNY at Stonybrook, Department of Pharmacology, likes
Expression Systems That Fly: Invitrogen's new Drosophila Expression System is fast, easy, and versatile
Expression Systems That Fly: Invitrogen's new Drosophila Expression System is fast, easy, and versatile
Functional expression of muscinaric receptors in Drosphila cells stably transfected with pMT/V5. Transient carbamylcholine induce Ca2+ uptake is shown by fluorescence of Fura-2 (Panel B), a Ca2+ sensitive dye. Expressing proteins has never been easier than with Invitrogen's new Drosophila Expression System, DESTM. DES takes you anywhere you want to go with protein expression and purification. With it you can make transient or stable transformants; by cotransfecting it with a hygromycin resista

Technology Profile

Setting Your Sites On Genes: Site-directed mutagenesis kits provide fast and efficient peeks into gene function
Setting Your Sites On Genes: Site-directed mutagenesis kits provide fast and efficient peeks into gene function
Date: October 13, 1997 Comparison Chart Knowing the sequence of a gene will never reveal all its secrets. There needs to be a way to tie the sequence of the DNA to the function of the protein. Almost as old as the field of genetics itself is the study of mutations-heritable changes in DNA-through which scientists have attempted to make this connection. With advances in molecular biology technology and in particular the development of the means for synthesizing DNA, mutations are being produce
Dispensing Aspirations
Dispensing Aspirations
Date: October 13, 1997 Test Results Chart 2 Anyone who has manually filled and rinsed all 96 wells of a microplate knows what a chore that is and can surely appreciate the labor-saving benefits of an automated microtiter plate strip washer. Curious about the attributes of the latest crop of strip washers, LabConsumer invited four manufacturers to submit their instruments for a hands-on review. All the strip washers arrived with an 8 channel manifold for washing one 8 well strip at time, alth
Tower of Power: The Run On Programmable Power Supplies
Tower of Power: The Run On Programmable Power Supplies
Date: October 13, 1997 Comparison Chart 1 , Comparison Chart2 You could be home right now. Instead, you are forced to stay at the lab to monitor that 2-D gel you're running. Think of all the things you could be doing instead. Sure, you can fill the time by doing busy work, tidying up the lab or making sense of what you scrawled in your notebook hours ago. If you run multiple gels, multiple protocols, or like the convenience of programmability, programmable power supplies were designed to meet

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Table of Contents NRC Denies Poisened Postdoc's Request No Human Clones A Funny Spin to Science Anti-Obesity Drug Withdrawn Haverford Finds Friend in Science More Than Padded Cells Cancer Checkpoint Super Grant STILL A MYSTERY: The identity of the person who poisoned Maryann Wenli Ma and Bill Wenling Zheng, shown here with their son, remains unknown. On September 17, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) turned down a petition by Maryann Wenli Ma, the visiting Chinese postdoc at the Natio