Volume 389 Issue 6646, 4 September 1997


  • Opinion |

    Most disciplines know how to handle the naming of newly discovered objects. Not so the molecular biologists, whose profligate and undisciplined labelling is hampering communication.

  • Opinion |

    Parties to the United Nations biodiversity convention have been given a rare opportunity.


  • News |

    WASHINGTONA cancer researcher at the University of Pittsburgh who sued after being dismissed and falsely accused of scientific misconduct, has won $2.75 million in damages and an apology from the university.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    [TOKYO]Japanese science agencies have asked for modest budget rises next year, acknowledging that the finance ministry will no longer support the sharp increases in funds for research they have enjoyed in recent years.

    • Robert Triendl
  • News |

    [SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA]The Scripps Research Institute is planning a major expansion at La Jolla, California, allowing it to consolidate research facilities on one site and to take on more staff.

    • Rex Dalton
  • News |

    [LONDON]The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity has been plunged into fresh crisis with the imminent departure of its executive secretary, Calestous Juma.

    • Ehsan Masood
  • News |

    [HYDERABAD, INDIA]A controversial US-funded mosquito-control project in Delhi, which was closed down by the Indian government 20 years ago is now likely to be revived.

    • K. S. Jayaraman
  • News |

    [NEW DELHI]India has forced the US Patent and Trademark Office to revoke a contentious patent it granted two years ago to researchers in the United States on the use of powdered turmeric (Curcuma longa) for wound healing.

    • K. S. Jayaraman
  • News |

    [LONDON]Protests from the health-food industry and from scientists has persuaded almost 100 members of the British parliament to resist proposals to limit over-the-counter sales of vitamin B6.

    • Alison Abbott
  • News |

    [MUNICH]Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have agreed on closer collaboration in flood management following the recent catastrophic flooding of the River Oder, which runs through all three countries.

    • Matthias Strobl
  • News |

    [WASHINGTON]The library at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, has issued a plea for help from the academic community as it tries to recover from a flash flood that devastated its collection.

    • Laura Garwin
  • News |

    [PARIS]Revelations that successive Swedish governments sterilized more than 60,000 people on eugenic, social and economic grounds until as recently as 1976, have exposed the failure of the Swedish scientific and medical communities to speak out against the practice.

    • Declan Butler

News in Brief



News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Motor proteins such as kinesin help to haul cellular cargo along microtubules, and they are mechanically programmed to move in one direction only -- towards either the rapidly growing plus ends, or the static minus ends. But what determines the direction of movement? To address this question, a chimaera has been created in which the head of a minus-end kinesin is attached to the tail ofa plus-end kinesin. And the chimaera moves in the opposite direction to the minus-end heads.

    • R. A. Cross
  • News & Views |

    How do people make decisions? A standard answer (not the only one) runs as follows: every individual first ranks all alternatives open to them, and then chooses the top of the list. This model had not been validated by econometric studies, but now a simple realization has changed that situation: two people don't act the same way as one. Indeed, the buying patterns of couples conform toentirely different sets of equations.

    • Ivar Ekeland
  • News & Views |

    When proteins are secreted from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus, they are packaged into vesicles that travel to and fuse with the tubular network at the cis face of the Golgi. But what happens if the ER is a long way from the Golgi? An elegant new study using green fluorescent protein shows that the vesicles fuse to form a vesicular-tubular network, which travels down microtubules to fuse with the cis-Golgi network.

    • Hugh R. B. Pelham
  • News & Views |

    Satellite monitoring of the extent of sea ice in the Antarctic began only in theearly 1970s: before that there are few other data to go on. An innovative study of the records of whalers, who made many of their kills at the ice edge where whales congregated to feed, now concludes that there was a large reduction in Antarctic summertime sea-ice coverage between the 1950s and 1970s. The cause of this inferred decrease is unknown. But it is a matter of considerable interest, as the sea-ice cover of the polar oceans is an important component of the Earth's overall climate system.

    • Eugene Murphy
    •  & John King
  • News & Views |

    A few weeks ago,Nature reported the sequence of Helicobacter pylori, which is present in up to one in three people and causes peptic ulcers. But many other chronic diseases or cancers are also thought to be caused by infectious agents. Weight is now lent to this theory by two studies that link coronary heart disease to the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae, and the implications of these findings are discussed.

    • John Danesh
    • , Robert Newton
    •  & Valerie Beral
  • News & Views |

    Sunspots are relatively cool regions of the solar disk where bundles of magneticfield lines break through the surface. A puzzling phenomenon was first noted by J. Evershed in 1909: spectroscopic observations of sunspots show a flow of material streaming across the face of the spot, only to perform a mysterious vanishing act at its outer edge. It turns out that the material is dragged back under the solar surface along closed loops in the magnetic field.

    • Karen Southwell
  • News & Views |

    With political parties in some countries moving ever closer in their policies, Daedalus suggests abandoning the pretence that party and policy are connected atall. A sophisticated polling system will gauge the will of the people, and parties can compete for votes solely on the basis of their bids to carry out those policies for the least tax.

    • David Jones

Scientific Correspondence

  • Scientific Correspondence |

    • Raphael Mechoulam
    • , Ester Fride
    • , Lumir Hanu
    • , Tzviel Sheskin
    • , Tiziana Bisogno
    • , Vincenzo Di Marzo
    • , Michael Bayewitch
    •  & Zvi Vogel
  • Scientific Correspondence |

    • M. J. Stear
    • , K. Bairden
    • , J. L. Duncan
    • , P. H. Holmes
    • , Q. A. McKellar
    • , M. Park
    • , S. Strain
    • , M. Murray
    • , S. C. Bishop
    •  & G. Gettinby

Book Reviews




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