Table of contents



An empiric victory p529


Provenge already looks like the product of a bygone era.



Landmark approval for Dendreon's cancer vaccine pp531 - 532

Laura DeFrancesco


Firms chase diabetic inflammation with anti-IL-1β antibodies pp533 - 534

Cormac Sheridan


African GM safety drill p534

Lucas Laursen


Burgeoning stem cell product market lures major suppliers pp535 - 536

Sarah Webb


GMP cell lines to order p536

Susan Aldridge


Open-access fermenter p536

Asher Mullard


Glyphosate resistance threatens Roundup hegemony pp537 - 538

Emily Waltz


SBIR grants wax p538

Emma Dorey


Relief over stem cell lines p538

Jeffrey L Fox


Obama appoints bioethics panel to offer practical advice p539

Jeffrey L Fox


GSK's RNA splash p539

Janelle Weaver


Germany caps drug prices p539

Suzanne Elvidge


News Features

Biotech breeding goes bovine pp540 - 543

Stephen Strauss


Dairy farmers are rapidly adopting molecular profiling to accelerate the process of siring cows. But this seismic shift in breeding practices is raising new questions and translating more slowly to the beef industry. Stephen Strauss reports.

Up for grabs pp544 - 546

Michael Eisenstein


As issued patents on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells stack up, the specter of a patent thicket looms. Michael Eisenstein investigates.



Beyond venture capital pp547 - 549

John Hollway



Opinion and Comment


1 out of 27—European politicians score poorly in agbiotech pp551 - 552

Atanas Atanassov, Godelieve Gheysen, Denis J Murphy, Olivier Sanvido, Joachim Schiemann, Charles Spillane & Roberto Tuberosa


Split approvals and hot potatoes pp552 - 553

Henry I Miller


Why drought tolerance is not the new Bt pp553 - 554

Travis J Lybbert & Adrian Bell


Health impact in China of folate-biofortified rice pp554 - 556

Hans De Steur, Xavier Gellynck, Sergei Storozhenko, Ge Liqun, Willy Lambert, Dominique Van Der Straeten & Jacques Viaene


Alive and kicking p556

Lance Stewart





Pluripotent patents make prime time: an analysis of the emerging landscape pp557 - 559

Brenda M Simon, Charles E Murdoch & Christopher T Scott


An examination of three patents in the fast-moving iPS space may help determine their ultimate value.

Recent patent applications in epigenetics p560



News and Views

Raising the bar for cancer therapy models pp561 - 562

Giulio Francia & Robert S Kerbel


Can mouse cancer models predict the results of phase 3 clinical trials?

See also: Research by Singh et al.

Scalable pluripotent stem cell culture pp562 - 563

Larry A Couture


Large-scale production of human embryonic stem cells will require improved culture methods.

See also: Research by Villa-Diaz et al. | Research by Melkoumian et al. | Research by Rodin et al.

Complex molecular dynamics in the spotlight pp564 - 565

Lois Pollack & Watt W Webb


Zero-mode waveguides illuminate the process of translation.

Detecting methylated bases in real time p565

Markus Elsner



Research Highlights

Research highlights p566



Computational Biology


Comparative assessment of methods for aligning multiple genome sequences pp567 - 572

Xiaoyu Chen & Martin Tompa


Mining information from genomes often begins by aligning the sequences to identify evolutionarily conserved regions. Chen et al. assess the performance of four commonly used multiple sequence alignment tools.




Brief Communications

Synthetic polymer coatings for long-term growth of human embryonic stem cells pp581 - 583

Luis G Villa-Diaz, Himabindu Nandivada, Jun Ding, Naiara C Nogueira-de-Souza, Paul H Krebsbach, K Sue O'Shea, Joerg Lahann & Gary D Smith


The development of fully defined culture conditions for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) should enhance experimental reproducibility, reduce unwanted contaminants and facilitate scale-up production. Villa-Diaz et al. show that a substrate made of the synthetic polymer PMEDSAH supports long-term culture of hESCs.

See also: News and Views by Couture


Assessing therapeutic responses in Kras mutant cancers using genetically engineered mouse models pp585 - 593

Mallika Singh, Anthony Lima, Rafael Molina, Patricia Hamilton, Anne C Clermont, Vidusha Devasthali, Jennifer D Thompson, Jason H Cheng, Hani Bou Reslan, Calvin C K Ho, Timothy C Cao, Chingwei V Lee, Michelle A Nannini, Germaine Fuh, Richard A D Carano, Hartmut Koeppen, Ron X Yu, William F Forrest, Gregory D Plowman & Leisa Johnson


Genetically engineered mouse models of cancer simulate the spontaneous development of tumors in their native tissue environment. Singh et al. establish their ability to predict the efficacy of different treatment regimens by comparing clinical trial results to equivalent experiments in mutated KRAS-driven mouse models of pancreatic and lung cancer.

See also: News and Views by Francia & Kerbel


Single-molecule enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detects serum proteins at subfemtomolar concentrations pp595 - 599

David M Rissin, Cheuk W Kan, Todd G Campbell, Stuart C Howes, David R Fournier, Linan Song, Tomasz Piech, Purvish P Patel, Lei Chang, Andrew J Rivnak, Evan P Ferrell, Jeffrey D Randall, Gail K Provuncher, David R Walt & David C Duffy


Rissin et al. increase the sensitivity of sandwich ELISA by segregating beads bearing a single enzyme-labeled immunoconjugate into femtoliter-volume reaction chambers. As the small volume of each well permits detection of extremely low levels of fluorescence, protein abundance is determined by counting the number of fluorescent wells as a percentage of the number of wells containing beads.

Identification of influenza A nucleoprotein as an antiviral target pp600 - 605

Richard Y Kao, Dan Yang, Lai-Shan Lau, Wayne H W Tsui, Lihong Hu, Jun Dai, Mei-Po Chan, Che-Man Chan, Pui Wang, Bo-Jian Zheng, Jian Sun, Jian-Dong Huang, Jason Madar, Guanhua Chen, Honglin Chen, Yi Guan & Kwok-Yung Yuen


The spread of influenza virus strains resistant to the current generation of anti-viral drugs makes the identification of new druggable targets and lead compounds of prime importance. Kao et al. show that the influenza A nucleoprotein can be targeted by a small molecule that protects mice from lethal viral challenges.

Synthetic peptide-acrylate surfaces for long-term self-renewal and cardiomyocyte differentiation of human embryonic stem cells pp606 - 610

Zara Melkoumian, Jennifer L Weber, David M Weber, Andrei G Fadeev, Yue Zhou, Paula Dolley-Sonneville, Jiwei Yang, Liqun Qiu, Catherine A Priest, Christopher Shogbon, Arthur W Martin, Jodelle Nelson, Peter West, James P Beltzer, Santona Pal & Ralph Brandenberger


The development of fully defined culture conditions for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) should enhance experimental reproducibility, reduce unwanted contaminants and facilitate scale-up production. Melkoumian et al. show that a substrate made of peptides derived from extracellular matrix proteins supports long-term culture of hESCs and differentiation to cardiomyocytes.

See also: News and Views by Couture

Long-term self-renewal of human pluripotent stem cells on human recombinant laminin-511 pp611 - 615

Sergey Rodin, Anna Domogatskaya, Susanne Ström, Emil M Hansson, Kenneth R Chien, José Inzunza, Outi Hovatta & Karl Tryggvason


The development of fully defined culture conditions for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) should enhance experimental reproducibility, reduce unwanted contaminants and facilitate scale-up production. Rodin et al. show that a substrate made of human recombinant laminin-511 supports long-term culture of hESCs and human induced pluripotent stem cells.

See also: News and Views by Couture


Analysis of a genome-wide set of gene deletions in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe pp617 - 623

Dong-Uk Kim, Jacqueline Hayles, Dongsup Kim, Valerie Wood, Han-Oh Park, Misun Won, Hyang-Sook Yoo, Trevor Duhig, Miyoung Nam, Georgia Palmer, Sangjo Han, Linda Jeffery, Seung-Tae Baek, Hyemi Lee, Young Sam Shim, Minho Lee, Lila Kim, Kyung-Sun Heo, Eun Joo Noh, Ah-Reum Lee, Young-Joo Jang, Kyung-Sook Chung, Shin-Jung Choi, Jo-Young Park, Youngwoo Park, Hwan Mook Kim, Song-Kyu Park, Hae-Joon Park, Eun-Jung Kang, Hyong Bai Kim, Hyun-Sam Kang, Hee-Moon Park, Kyunghoon Kim, Kiwon Song, Kyung Bin Song, Paul Nurse & Kwang-Lae Hoe


Genome-wide single-gene deletion libraries can be important tools for understanding the molecular workings of an organism, but have only been created for a single eukaryotic species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Now, Kim et al. present a second collection of deletion mutants that covers 98.4% of the genes of Schizosaccharomyces pombe, allowing a systematic comparison of gene essentiality and knockout phenotypes between two eukaryotic species.



Erratum: The cancer vaccine roller coaster p624

Bruce Goldman & Laura DeFrancesco


Erratum: Irish bioethics council axed p624

Cormac Sheridan


Erratum: Never again p624

Chris Scott


Erratum: Resuscitated deCODE refocuses on diagnostics p624

Mark Ratner


Erratum: Biotech in a blink p624

Ken Garber



Careers and Recruitment

The ABC's of industry: a postdoc program provides a sneak peek into industry careers pp625 - 626

Adnan O Abu-Yousif, Erik C Hett, Ann M Skoczenski & Tayyaba Hasan


An innovative partnership allows local companies to educate postdocs about careers in industry.


People p628