March 1999

News

Controversy Surrounds Memory Mechanism

Controversy Surrounds Memory Mechanism

What's the biochemical basis for our learning and storing the names, events, sights, and sounds that stay with us for a lifetime? Can we, in fact, reduce and explain these bits of nostalgia in terms of the inner workings of cellular and molecular mechanisms, phenomena in the brain at the synapses between neurons? Seth Grant and Richard Morris More than 30 years ago, investigators believed that they'd taken a huge step toward doing precisely that. Terje Lomo, then a Ph.D. student at the Univer

Phytoremediation: A Growing Field with Some Concerns

Phytoremediation: A Growing Field with Some Concerns

Eric Carmen/ARCADIS Geraghy & Miller Phytoremediation--the use of trees and plants to help clean up toxic waste sites--is not only a growing science; it's also a growth industry. One report estimates that the phytoremediation market in the United States will expand from $16.5-$29.5 million in 1998 to $55-$103 million by 2000 and to $214-$370 million by 2005.1 In addition to offering job opportunities for environment-related physical scientists, the industry also will need life scientists, s

Activity Shifts On Angiogenesis Research Plans

Activity Shifts On Angiogenesis Research Plans

Call it the angiogenesis inhibitor shuffle. Bristol-Myers Squibb of New York dropped clinical plans for the protein angiostatin, but is proceeding to Phase I with a small molecule. A National Cancer Institute lab that last fall questioned the viability of endostatin now confirms the protein can be synthesized and may be back on track for human tests. And a third, unnamed protein, not yet reported in the scientific literature, has been licensed to Genzyme Corp. of Framingham, Mass., with clinica

'Shotgun Wedding': Public, Private Drosophila Sequencing Agreement Should Speed Project, Ensure Accuracy

'Shotgun Wedding': Public, Private Drosophila Sequencing Agreement Should Speed Project, Ensure Accuracy

When J. Craig Venter proposed last May to use the "shotgun" technique to sequence Drosophila, many scientists doubted that blasting such a large genome into billions of base pairs, then reassembling it in one fell swoop would succeed.1 On the brink of the project's beginning, skepticism remains. But an agreement between Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville, Md., and the University of California at Berkeley's Drosophila Genome Project Group, may render that uncertainty irrelevant. The Berkeley gr

Cartoon

Cartoon

Cartoon

"You simply associate each number with a word, such as 'Table' and 3,476,029."

Commentary

The Global Vaccine Initiative

The Global Vaccine Initiative

I applaud Bill and Melinda Gates and their astounding donation to the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). Having worked with PATH on contraceptive availability in Brazil and hepatitis B vaccine studies in Thailand while I was with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), I am a big fan of both their remarkable vision and their continued commitment to bring innovative technologies to the developing world. While a very large percentage of the Gates endowment will (

Letter

Postdoc Pay

Postdoc Pay

Concerning the news article "Postdocs get a pay raise, but other issues remain,"1 it is important to note that the pay raise being received by NIH-funded postdocs applies only to those paid from NIH grants awarded after October 1998. Any postdoc who is being paid from an NIH grant dated prior to October 1998 does not receive the increase. While this may be attributed to financial constraints, it means in real-life terms that a postdoc with up to three years of experience is currently making les

Regulated/Unregulated Gene Therapy

Regulated/Unregulated Gene Therapy

I read with interest Eugene Russo's article on regulated gene therapy.1 For the past six years, I have been developing a system to target genes to specific tissues and regulate their expression using hypoxia response enhancer elements. By combining tissue-specific promoter elements and strategically placed hypoxia responsive enhancers, we can now target genes to almost any organ and have the expression of the target gene limited quite tightly to periods during and immediately following ischemia

Journal Costs

Journal Costs

Your recent editorial, "Why science journals are so expensive,"1 [caught my attention] since I am and have been a journal editor for over 10 years. Contrary to some of your thoughts, many of us who edit journals do not have any level of support from our organizations and end up running "cottage industries" that, even though they are with for-profit publishers, are run very much like the new journal you mentioned. My wife and I spend many evenings and weekends editing the journal. Since this is

Opinion

The Changing Face of Philanthropy: What for Science?

The Changing Face of Philanthropy: What for Science?

Life is a series of learning experiences. I would like to share with you what I am learning about philanthropy. I became interested in the subject because of my many volunteer efforts, including founding the Women in Science and Technology Alliance (WiSTA), the first and largest coalition of public and private institutions promoting full participation of girls and women in all aspects and levels of science and technology. Along with technology, nonprofit organizations are transforming America.

Research

Scientists Probe Role of Nucleus in Protein Synthesis

Scientists Probe Role of Nucleus in Protein Synthesis

EXPORT MECHANISM: The tRNA must mature inside the nucleus before export. tRNAs are aminoacylated, and only tRNAs charged with an amino acid are exported efficiently. Export occurs when the tRNA is carried through the nuclear pore by a complex of exportin-t and Ran-GTP. As the project to sequence the human genome moves relentlessly ahead, molecular biologists are hard at work posing the next important questions about protein synthesis. Soon scientists will know every single gene and every RNA,

Hot Paper

Deacetylation

Deacetylation

Edited by: Eugene Russo J. Taunton, C.A. Hassig, S.L. Schreiber, "A mammalian histone deacetylase related to the yeast transcriptional regulator Rpd3p," Science, 272:408-11, 1996. (Cited in more than 195 papers since publication) Comments by Stuart L. Schreiber, professor of chemistry at Harvard University Stuart Schreiber Vincent G. Allfrey, now a professor emeritus at Rockefeller University, first detected histone deacetylase, or HDAC, activity in nuclear extracts 34 years ago; soon
Acetylation

Acetylation

Acetylation

 In March 1996, a laboratory from the University of Rochester announced the discovery of an enzyme integral to unlocking the still-mysterious intricacies of DNA transcription and gene activation, the most basic of cellular processes.

Profession

Investment Career Paths for Scientists

Investment Career Paths for Scientists

One year after graduating with a degree in political science, Jim Reddoch caught the molecular biology bug and entered the graduate program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Two years into that program, he already had misgivings. Advisers suggested that, once he had a Ph.D., he was virtually assured of an immediate career in academic research. Watching his fellow graduate students finish degrees and search for jobs, "I found that was not the case at all," he recalls. Here's a

Technology

A Captivating Technology

A Captivating Technology

What is it? Acrydite is a molecular chimera containing an acrylic group and phosphoramidite that can be used as a platform for oligo construction (via the phosphoramidite part) and as a vehicle to attach oligos to surfaces (via the acrylic portion). What makes this particular molecule so useful is that it attaches to surfaces in a single step--and a number of different surfaces are possible--forms a bond that is resistant to high temperatures, and leaves the attached oligo accessible for hybrid

Just Say NO

Just Say NO

Calbiochem's Nitric Oxide & Oxidative Stress Research Tools When scientists go exploring for new drugs, they begin by charting the metabolic pathways that lead to a specific physiological result. The enormity of such a task can be likened to another great adventure: the search for the source of the Nile. Explorers knew that water was flowing into Egypt, but from where? Countless tributaries empty into the mighty river transporting soil, commerce, and water rich in organisms from a dozen d

Fish or Chips

Fish or Chips

GenoSensor System, showing results of hybridization to biochip (left) and display of data using software (right). Gene amplification and rearrangements have long been known to occur in cancer cells, and the connection between these events and disease outcome is of great interest, especially in light of the relationship between HER-2/neu amplification and a poor breast cancer prognosis. It is with this backdrop that Vysis, a genomic disease management company based in Downer's Grove, Ill., has

Technology Profile

Dead Again: Adventures in Apoptosis

Dead Again: Adventures in Apoptosis

Date: March 1, 1999Caspase Substrates and Inhibitors, Apoptosis ProductsCast of Characters Apoptosis is no less a hot topic than it was a year ago when LabConsumer first looked at the available tools for studying this complex phenomenon.1 In that intervening time, roughly 20 papers per day have been published on apoptosis, an issue of Science devoted to apoptosis has been published,2 and countless new pieces have been added to the puzzle. To get an idea of the complexity of apoptosis in higher

Top Of The Glass: Bottletop Burettes are Indispensable in Today's Laboratory

Top Of The Glass: Bottletop Burettes are Indispensable in Today's Laboratory

Date: March 1, 1999 Table of Bottletop Burettes Dispensing precise quantities of aqueous solutions has always been one of the more frustrating and messy jobs in the laboratory. Limited by manual operations that require careful attention and a steady hand, dispensing and titrating fluids remains one of the least sophisticated and most common procedures in the laboratory, responsible for introducing margins of error that are not insignificant when considered over the course of multiple readings.

When You Wish Upon A Star: Molecular Beacons: Real Time in a Twinkle

When You Wish Upon A Star: Molecular Beacons: Real Time in a Twinkle

Table of Licensed Providers of Molecular Beacons and Kits Using molecular beacons for spectral genotyping. Differently-colored molecular probes specific for the wild-type and mutant alleles are designed. DNA amplified from homozygous wild-type individuals binds only to the fluorescein-labeled molecular beacons (left). DNA from homozygous mutants binds only the tetramethylrhodamine-labeled molecular beacons (right). Both types of molecular probes will bind to amplicons generated from the DNA

Notebook

Notebook

Notebook

David Holtzman and Friend SNAKE LOGIC David Holtzman, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester, has loved snakes since childhood. But in college, when he wanted to investigate how snake brains develop, he found that serpents weren't exactly model organisms. "I wanted to devise a task that could show that snakes can learn as well as rodents--if you ask them to do the right thing," he recalls. Now Holtzman and his colleagues are doing just that (D.