At the 19th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, under way this week in Phoenix (see story on page 1), more than 150 papers will be presented on the subject of growth cones, including such aspects as process outgrowth and guid- ance mechanisms in neuronal differentiation, morphogenesis, and development.

This represents a more than three-fold increase over the number of papers on this topic delivered just five years ago (see accompanying chart). By comparison, the total number of. abstracts submitted for the society’s annual meeting increased by “only” 73% over this same period. All in all, this trend serves to indicate the emerging importance of growth cone studies.

“One reason this field has recently gotten so hot is because researchers can now see what they could only imagine before,” says Stephen Smith, a Howard Hughes investigator in the Section of Molecular Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine. “New technologies...

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