Bernard Dixon
European Editorial Offices The Scientist
Uxbridge, U.K.

A genetically engineered retrovirus has been insterted into yolk sac and other cells and exploited as a marker with which to identify their progeny over time. This ingenious technique is already contributing to the solution of the central problem of embryology - the means by which cells differentiate in response to the program carried in a primordial cell's DNA.

J.R. Sanes, "Analysing cell lineage with a recombinant retrovirus," Trends in Neurosciences, 12 (1), 21-8, January 1989.

Pathogenicity pioneer Harry Smith and colleagues in Birmingham, England, have identified the human serum component that (paradoxically?) makes gonococci resistant to the killing action of serum. This is one of the first known examples of a specific mechanism by which a host can affect the production of virulence determinants by a pathogenic organism.

C.A. Nairn, J.A. Cole, P.V. Patel, N.J. Parsons, J.E. Fox, H....

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