Frontlines

Frontlines
Frontlines
Frontlines Image: Erica P. Johnson Size (in some cases) does matter For those who dismiss the stereotype of males behaving more aggressively than women as being 'all in your head,' it might be time to eat crow. Magnetic resonance imaging scans have provided neurological evidence that men are more hot-tempered than women (R.C. Gur, "Sex difference in temporo-limbic and frontal brain volumes of healthy adults," Journal of the Cerebral Cortex, 12:998, September 2002). Scans of the temporo-limb

Commentary

An Unholy Trinity?
An Unholy Trinity?
The "big three" journals, Nature, Science, and Cell, undoubtedly have some say in the development and perception of science. But what exactly is their impact? How long-lasting is it? Is it helpful or damaging? The story on page 59 of this issue considers how competition among these journals for high-profile breakthroughs may harm the scientific process, and another on page 76 profiles one of the architects of the current state of affairs. Is it now time, in the best interests of science, to d

Letter

Cancer Prevention
Cancer Prevention
Cancer Prevention A recent letter in The Scientist recommended greater emphasis on cancer prevention, and outlined personal and societal regimens to enhance prevention.1 While these recommendations are laudable, they have been known for years, but have essentially not been implemented. In the United States, and increasingly in many other countries, an illness sub-economy has developed. It goes by the misnomer of 'health care.' A substantial and increasing share of gross domestic product is
Science Is More Than Biology, But Biology Is Still Part of Science
Science Is More Than Biology, But Biology Is Still Part of Science
Science Is More Than Biology, But Biology Is Still Part of Science The National Science Foundation is a unique federal agency, and it serves a vital role in our nation's effort to meet the challenges of the 21st century. No other organization--public, private, or philanthropic--provides support for fundamental research and education across all disciplines of science, engineering, and mathematics. NSF also supports interdisciplinary programs that stimulate progress within and across traditio

Opinion

The Academy Responds
The Academy Responds
Image: Anthony Canamucio Although Henry I. Miller is certainly welcome to express his opinions about the risks of biotechnology,1 he should not criticize a detailed report without reading it carefully. Miller indicates that the 2002 National Research Council report2 "invokes a variety of specious arguments." His main example is that the report puts forth "a general assumption that the risks associated with the introduction of genetic novelty are related to the number of genetic changes and th

News

Righting the Rainbow
Righting the Rainbow
Photo: Courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service, Thomas L. Wellborn, Jr. DEADLY PARASITE: Myxobolus cerebralis causes whirling disease, a trout-killing infection that is devastating in some wild trout populations. In a Quonset hut dubbed the "parasite factory" on the University of California's sprawling Davis campus, the bed in a tankful of water is strewn with what looks like snippets of rusty thread: worms that harbor a deadly European parasite called Myxobolus cerebralis. It causes wh
Phenotype Database Opens for Business
Phenotype Database Opens for Business
Graphic: Courtesy of PharmGKB  THE PYRAMID: A summary of the phenotypes that can be related to genotypes in pharmaco-genomics. Why does the cold medication that makes you sleepy give your friend the jitters? Diet, perhaps, or gender, but equally likely are your respective genetic backgrounds. With the era of personalized medicine approaching, individual responses to drugs are set to capture ever more attention from scientists and practitioners, and as a harbinger of the trend, the world'
SNP Technology Focuses on Terror Victims' IDs
SNP Technology Focuses on Terror Victims' IDs
Graphic: Courtesy of Orchid Biosciences  SNP-based identifications are possible with fragments one-fourth the size needed for other methods. A well-lit, chrome-and-steel room hums as a robot uses multiple arms to carry 384-well plates from their platforms into readers, where an "SNPscope"--which has the capacity to read just a few pixels of fluorescence--captures data from the entire plate in six minutes and automatically transfers it to computer screens. A half-dozen researchers and ana
Acrylamide in French Fries
Acrylamide in French Fries
Finding acryl-amide--a reagent biochemists use to separate proteins, and a neurotoxin and suspected carcinogen--in fried and baked foods was surprising enough.1 What really puzzled food chemists was how it gets there. Now four research groups may have solved the mystery. In papers from the University of Reading in England and the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland,2,3 and a report from Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, delivered before the Association of Official Analyti
Gene Therapy Marches Forward
Gene Therapy Marches Forward
Illustration: Erica P. Johnson After years of methodically lumbering along with antisense and gene knockout technologies, gene therapy has been given fresh legs. Techniques such as RNA interference (RNAi)--small nuclear RNAs to mask aberrant splice sites--and transposon technologies that extend the lives of transgenes are offering more applications than previously thought possible. A trio of recent papers highlights these approaches to gene therapy. RNAi is being used to boost gene therapy ef
The March of the Monarch
The March of the Monarch
Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln P. Brower, Sweet Briar College  FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL: Overwintering monarch butterflies on the ground after a snow and rain storm in the Sierra Chincua, January 20, 1983. Many of these survived because the temperature didn't plunge below freezing following the storm. Across my dreams with nets of wonder I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love --Bob Lind Jan. 11, 2002 started a bad weekend for monarch butterflies. Late that night, an unusually powerful
Scientists, Government Clash Over Reforms in Italy
Scientists, Government Clash Over Reforms in Italy
Even before the Silvio Berlusconi government took over last year, major reforms of Italy's scientific infrastructure were under way. The National Science Council (CNR), Italy's largest scientific organization that employs about 3,650 researchers and 2,680 technicians, already had embarked on a reform program to bring it in line with the other research organizations in Europe, such as the National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) in France or the Max Planck Institutes in Germany. The CNR is c
A Lindbergh Legacy in Life Sciences
A Lindbergh Legacy in Life Sciences
Photo: Courtesy of Yale University Library Charles Lindbergh Seventy-five years ago, Charles A. Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in what aviators still deem the greatest solo flight of all time. Although his influence is indelibly stamped on virtually all aspects of commercial aviation, another Lindbergh legacy may be emerging in the realm of life sciences. Recently, on the anniversary of the aviator's return home to Little Falls, Minn., a group of scientists, engineers, and environmen

Research

The Reality of Targeted Therapies
The Reality of Targeted Therapies
Image: Courtesy of Mignon Fogarty  LEARNING ABOUT RESISTANCE: Most cancers engage multiple growth factor, angiogenic, cell cycle, and apoptosis pathways. Frequently, redundant pathways exist, so that as drugs shut one pathway down another pathway takes over. This is one way that cancers become resistant to targeted agents. Early stage tumors tend to secrete a small number of pro-angiogenic factors, whereas late stage tumors secrete a larger number of pro-angiogenic factors. Targeted anti
Surprise, Surprise: Hox Proteins Have Evolved
Surprise, Surprise: Hox Proteins Have Evolved
Image: Courtesy of William McGinnis LOTSALEGS: The six-limbed fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster As school children are commonly taught, adult insects have six legs. No more, no less. But there's more to this story. The class Insecta is descended from multilimb ancestors, and most other living arthropods, including Insecta's closest living relative, the Crustacea, usually have at least five pairs of legs or leg-like appendages. How insects lost their limbs has interested those in the bu

Hot Paper

A SNP-by-SNP Approach Could Leave One Clueless
A SNP-by-SNP Approach Could Leave One Clueless
Image: Courtesy of Stephen B. Liggett UN-BALANCING ACT: The figure depicts linkage disequilibrium between ß2-AR SNPS. Genotypes from Caucasians were determined at 13 loci and the degree of linkage disequilibrium between SNPs was calculated. The site at -406 was monomorphic in the Caucasian sample. The promise of pharmacogenetics will not be realized easily. To date, most studies have focused on individual SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), or perhaps a few, but none have consi
The DNA Microarray: It's the Proof in the Protein Pudding
The DNA Microarray: It's the Proof in the Protein Pudding
Image: ©1999-2002 Elsevier Science  TESTING THE PUDDING: Using clustering of gene expression profiles, researchers showed that yer083c maybe implicated in cell wall biosynthesis. Direct testing of that hypothesis verified this connection. (Reprinted with permission Cell, 102:109-26, 2000.) As genomics morphs into proteomics and the quest to understand the biological functions of proteins accelerates, researchers continue to look for the best methods that will speed their understandi

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

Body-Building
Body-Building
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. Since Aristotle, humans have pondered how body patterns form. Almost invariably, each person has the same skeletomuscular arrangements. Some bodily structures, such as vertebra and ribs, seem to come about by reiteration of a common process. These segments derive from somites, which are serially repeated precursors that in turn develop by sequentially 'budd

Technology Profile

The Tissue Culture Follies
The Tissue Culture Follies
Image: Anne MacNamara/R. Ian Freshney Like most researchers, you probably hate tissue culture work. But, if such 'trivialities' as experimental quality and reproducibility are important to you, then you and your cells will need to come to an understanding. Perhaps a short trip through the looking glass--that is, culture flask--will be of value. What do you have to lose? It's free, and all the seats are front row center! Cast: (in order of appearance) First researcher Cells Narrator Second
Gene Expression Data Mining
Gene Expression Data Mining
Image: Courtesy of Rosetta Biosoftware  The Rosetta Resolver system's Image Viewer application showing an Affymetrix GeneChip probe array. There is a saying: "Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it." Biologists long pined for faster, more efficient ways to gather data; now they generate genomic information faster than they can assimilate it. The result: information overload. The solution: data mining. Though data mining is an ambiguous term, most definitions include the idea
To Dream the Not-So-Impossible Genomics Dream
To Dream the Not-So-Impossible Genomics Dream
Photo: Courtesy of SolexaSolexa's single-molecule detection apparatus Nick McCooke, CEO of Solexa, has a bold goal: to analyze, in one day, the whole genome of an individual for one thousand dollars. The Cambridge, UK-based company (www.solexa.com) is developing TotalGenotyping™, a method based on the Single Molecule Array™ technology invented by Solexa founders and Cambridge University academics Shankar Balasubramanian, David Klenerman, and their team. The process will combine ul

Technology

Building an Informatics Bridge
Building an Informatics Bridge
Image: Courtesy of Accelrys Screenshot of DS ViewerPro Researchers routinely have at their disposal a variety of sophisticated software tools to help them analyze data and make decisions, but communicating results across disciplines and promoting collaborations between scientists can be a challenge. San Diego-based Accelrys aims to bridge this communications gap with its Discovery Studio™ line of software products, a horizontal information management system for the life sciences. Sc
Flp-In Flips Out
Flp-In Flips Out
Anyone who's ever made stable cell lines knows that clones can vary wildly in terms of expression levels. Some express the transfected gene at high levels, some express at low levels, and some, for whatever reason, fail to express at all. Individual clones must, therefore, be carefully screened. And, because integration sites are random, direct comparison of multiple clones can be uncertain. In 1999 Invitrogen of Carlsbad, Calif., unveiled its Flp-In™ recombinase-based system as a solut
Detecting Transcription Factor Interactions
Detecting Transcription Factor Interactions
Asingle human cell contains around 2,000 transcription factors, estimates Jason Li, president and CEO of Panomics in Redwood City, Calif. Their shifting alliances comprise a powerful layer of gene expression regulation, and can change depending on the specific function of the cell, micro- and macro-environmental factors, or particular experimental treatments. But standard detection methods, such as gel shifts and immunoprecipitations, permit isolation of only single molecular interactions, "on

Profession

Journals Tussle Over Talent
Journals Tussle Over Talent
Artwork: Erica P. Johnson Like many scientists, Xi He has experienced acute competition between prestige journals Science, Nature, and Cell. While at a research conference at the Keystone resort in Colorado two years ago, he spoke with an editor of one of these top-tier journals. He told the editor about promising research on cell signaling in the course of embryo development.1 The editor urged him to submit his paper. "I've never had an editor request a submission before," He, who has publis
Senior Scientists Grace Their Ages
Senior Scientists Grace Their Ages
Photos: Erica P. Johnson  Britton Chance Padding around his laboratory in gray wool socks, Britton Chance glances at the clock and notices the hour is approaching noon. On Saturday, that's quitting time for the 89-year-old University of Pennsylvania biophysics professor emeritus. But first he has E-mails to answer and a lab to close for the day. Chance moves slowly but sure-footedly. Time has bowed his lean frame ever so slightly, and he remains a spare man with big brown glasses and wisp
Life Science Patents Enrich Academe
Life Science Patents Enrich Academe
Image: Anne MacNamara Life sciences contribute the lion's share of patent revenues at leading US universities, outpacing contributions from physical science, information technology, and other fields. Life scientists also supply most of the inventions patented by the 10 technologically strongest US institutions, according to a study provided to The Scientist by research and consulting company, CHI Research. In 2001, the top 10 US universities generated 689 life science patents, compared with 26
Targeted Therapy Funds
Targeted Therapy Funds
Researchers in targeted therapies aim for specificity and safety. Knowing the specific genetic defects connected to cancer may help scientists develop customized drugs to maximize therapeutic efficacy. In 2001, the development of targeted therapies got a boost with the Food and Drug Administration's approval of Gleevec, a drug developed by Novartis to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia, and the completion of Phase II clinical trials of Mylotarg, which applies antibody-targeted chemotherapy to

Fine Tuning

A Mentor Maintenance Program
A Mentor Maintenance Program
Photo: Courtesy of Heather I. Rieff Postdoctoral fellows and principal investigators work together to craft individual development plans, but the written document represents only one stage of the project. The final step puts plan into action. Implementation of the individual development plan (IDP) challenges both mentor and fellow to remain flexible, since the postdoctoral fellow's needs and goals will almost certainly change during the fellowship. A postdoc needs to review the IDP with his m

News Profile

Benjamin Lewin
Benjamin Lewin
Photo: Courtesy of Benjamin Lewin Canadian researcher Tak Wah Mak enjoys the distinction of codiscovering T-cell receptors. But, when he submitted a paper to the journal Cell, the editors treated him like a postdoc: They asked him to go back to the lab and perform one more experiment on a mouse. "I called back and said, 'Do you know how long it takes me to do this experiment? Two or three years!'" he relates. "It's tough to get things published in Cell. They make you jump over the hoops five t