News

Investigators Ponder What Went Wrong
Investigators Ponder What Went Wrong
It was like falling off a cliff," Mark L. Batshaw, George Washington University pediatrics chairman, says of the adverse effect Jesse Gelsinger experienced following gene therapy. On Sept. 14, 18 Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania patients received escalating doses of an adenovirus carrying a gene to restore ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC)--an enzyme that, when missing, renders people unable to break down dietary protein. Gelsinger was in the highest-dose group, which nonetheless receiv
The 1999 Lasker Awards
The 1999 Lasker Awards
Editor's Note: This year's winners of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards were honored for their achievements at an Oct. 1 luncheon at the Hotel Pierre in New York. Three researchers were recognized for their work on ion channels, two for their development of a novel hypertension medication, and one for a lifetime of contributions to neuroscience. Following are three stories on the winners. More information is available on the Web at www.laskerfoundation.org. Basic Award Recognizes Ion Ch
Science on TV: Forging A Strategic Alliance
Science on TV: Forging A Strategic Alliance
The "EcoSphere" (top) is a small-scale model of the self-sustaining living environment of Earth; in the sealed, airtight globe, materials are used and reused in an endless cycle. Karen Nelson (bottom), a microbiologist from Jamaica, is filmed in her own environment for the series. Historically, an uneasy alliance has existed between science and television. The uneasiness is partially due to an age-old belief that communicating science to the lay public is not necessary, to some degree impossible
On the Trail of E. coli O157:H7
On the Trail of E. coli O157:H7
It was the first weekend in September, and all was not right at the Washington County fairgrounds, 35 miles north of Albany, N.Y. Usually the site of a well-attended arts and crafts show, the fairgrounds was a ghost town. The previous weekend, a convergence of unusual events at the annual county fair created a health nightmare that would take the lives of a 3-year-old and a 79-year-old and sicken more than 1,000. But painful lessons learned may help prevent future outbreaks of infection by Esche
Neuroscientists Extend Efforts from Miami to Cuba
Neuroscientists Extend Efforts from Miami to Cuba
Neuroscientists from the United States and Cuba gathered at the Hotel Nacional in Havana Oct. 19-23 and took a significant step toward enhancing scientific dialogue between the two countries. Their meeting featured 25 American speakers and a similar number of Cuban presenters, as well as representatives of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, Cuban students, and politicians from both nations. The purpose of the Havana gathering, organized as a satellite conference to the Society for Neuroscience
NIH Chief to Step Down
NIH Chief to Step Down
After six years and nearly $5 billion in budgetary increases, Harold Varmus announced Oct. 7 that he is leaving the National Institutes of Health to head the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. When Varmus took on the NIH directorship in 1993, the agency posted a budget of $11 billion. The budget for fiscal year 1999 soared to $15.6 billion. Scientists on the NIH campus also have praised Varmus for reinvigorating what was once a flagging institution.1 "Harold Varmus has done ever

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Commentary

To Cultivate Peace
To Cultivate Peace
When the Cold War ended 10 years ago, we expected an era of peace. What we got instead was a decade of war. Conflicts in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia during the 1990s--mostly civil wars--have been extraordinarily brutal, with the majority of victims being children, women, and the elderly. The entire international community has been involved in costly relief operations and peacekeeping missions, frequently under hostile conditions. Why has peace been so elusive? A recent report c

Letter

Two Views on Evolution
Two Views on Evolution
After reading Robert McCurdy's letter1 in The Scientist, and having already read Bruce Alberts' commentary,2 I perceive that there is a need to interject some rationalism into the hysteria created by the recent ruling concerning evolution. %09First of all, contrary to common perceptions, the ruling in no way removed the teaching of evolution from the science classroom in Kansas. Principles of evolution--such as genetic recombination and transposition; organismal adaptation, variation, and select

Opinion

The Future of Philanthropic Support for Research
The Future of Philanthropic Support for Research
Private philanthropy provides venture capital that is essential to the progress of medical research. Although they are heterogeneous and the support they provide is small in comparison to governmental and industrial support, philanthropic foundations fill a crucial, catalytic niche in medical research, and their involvement in this area should be extended. Foundations and the scientific community should pursue policies augmenting private contributions, and they should educate potential donors a

Hot Paper

Signal Transduction
Signal Transduction
N. Rampino, H. Yamamoto, Y. Ionov, Y. Li, H. Sawai, J.C. Reed, M. Perucho, "Somatic frameshift mutations in the BAX gene in colon cancers of the microsatellite mutator phenotype," Science, 275:967-9, Feb. 14, 1997. (Cited in more than 218 papers since publication) Comments by Manuel Perucho, director of the oncogene and tumor suppressor gene program at the Burnham Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and Nicholas Rampino, associate professor at the Burnham Institute Manuel Perucho Though healthy cells d
Circadian Rhythms
Circadian Rhythms
D.P. King, Y.L. Zhao, A.M. Sangoram, L.D. Wilsbacher, M. Tanaka, M.P. Antoch, T.D.L. Steeves, M.H. Vitaterna, J.M. Kornhauser, P.L. Lowrey, F.W. Turek, J.S. Takahashi, "Positional cloning of the mouse circadian Clock gene," Cell, 89:641-53, May 16, 1997. (Cited in more than 160 papers since publication) Comments by Joseph S. Takahashi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University This paper proved to be as significant for

Technology

DASH-ing Through the Genome
DASH-ing Through the Genome
Hybaid's Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridization system Understanding the relationship between genetic variations at the nucleotide sequence level and human disease will profoundly change prevention and treatment methods in the next decade. The DNA sequence information produced through the Human Genome Project will reveal thousands of variations at single nucleotides, termed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Such sequence variations in DNA may disrupt gene function and be causally associated
Video Vivisection
Video Vivisection
You could be sitting by a pond listening to a soothing summer evening concert sung by frogs. But you are actually in front of a computer, in the comfort of your home, office, or classroom, without annoying mosquitoes or biting flies. This performance is an interactive multimedia CD-ROM, the Digital Frog 2 (DF2), which is an anatomically precise computer simulation of a frog. DF2 has three segments: dissection, anatomy, and ecology. The anatomy segment compares amphibian and human anatomy and occ
Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense
Where is a scientist to begin studying a newly cloned gene that has no apparent function or phenotype? A common approach for obtaining functional clues is to inactivate the gene either in vitro or in vivo and observe the outcome. Antisense technology provides a powerful technique to study the functional consequences of gene silencing without deleting the gene altogether. In antisense technology, a DNA oligonucleotide complementary to the mRNA to be silenced is synthesized and introduced into th

Technology Profile

Oligo Factory
Oligo Factory
Automated Nucleic Acid Synthesizers Most of today's biological and biomedical laboratories simply could not function without ready access to user-specified oligonucleotides. Many researchers rely on core services or external vendors for their custom nucleotide needs. Other laboratories or departments choose to invest in oligonucleotide synthesizers for their exclusive use. Read on for a review of the basics of solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis and a summary of some of the commercially availa
We Deliver
We Deliver
Table of Molecular Biology Services Product Tables Courtesy of Invitrogen Many of today's brightest minds find themselves competing with their peers for limited resources in crowded labs. Ingenious experiments may end up on the back burner because another researcher has already booked the instrument through the end of the month or the instrument is awaiting repairs. Increasingly, scientists have come to rely on the convenience of prepared products and contract services.1 It began gradually wit

Profession

Working in Academia: Preparing for Changing Roles
Working in Academia: Preparing for Changing Roles
Teaching. Service. Research. These have been the three-pronged foundation of an academic career, though not necessarily in that order. But according to graduate students, faculty members, and advocates for doctoral education reform, what defines these responsibilities and what role the professorate plays in them--especially teaching--have been changing over the last few years. Teaching is moving beyond ensuring students can master the subject matter of a course. Now professors are also being as

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Contents Id and angio Testosterone boost to favored offspring More dopamine To B or not to B Mice that know when to say when Viral conquest Unraveling helicase Done in by a sucker ID AND ANGIO When Robert Benezra of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues knocked out two proteins that inhibit transcription factors in mice, they expected to see premature neural differentiation. In addition, however, they noticed that the absence of those two proteins, Id1 and Id3, di