Volume 398 Issue 6726, 1 April 1999


  • Opinion |

    The British government should not miss an opportunity to show its support for an innovative scheme from the Wellcome Trust to help take genomics research from the lab to the market.

  • Opinion |

    Greater pan-regional scientific collaboration could raise Latin American science to the next level of excellence.


  • News |

    cambridge, england The Wellcome Trust's proposed Genome Campus extension is effectively being held up by the residents of two small villages.

    • Ehsan Masood
  • News |

    washington The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has appointed Thomas Cech, a Nobel prize-winning biochemist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, as its next president.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    washington The University of Wyoming is considering closing down its physics and astronomy department, leaving it the only state university system in the country not to award a degree in physics.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    montreal Canada's federal government has announced the addition of eight extra scientists to a broad-based committee that identifies which species are assigned to the country's endangered list.

    • David Spurgeon
  • News |

    washington A US court has stopped the Yellowstone National Park from collaborating with a Californian biodiversity company to exploit the commercial potential of the park's biota.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    boston A meeting addressing secrecy in science has heard that a physician accused of breaching a non-disclosure clause over lung disease in textile workers is to lose his job.

    • Steve Nadis
  • News |

    london A group developing a long-term technology policy for Britain's science base as part of the Foresight initiative will be led by the heads of the main UK research councils.

    • Natasha Loder
  • News |

    lyons The consumer backlash over genetically modified crops has seriously set back the momentum for the development of biotechnology, leading industrialists admitted this week.

    • Declan Butler
  • News |

    new delhi Seven South Asian countries have agreed not to pass on the plant genetic resources they exchange among themselves to any country outside the region.

    • K. S. Jayaraman

News Profile

News in Brief


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The prisoner's dilemma is a classic of game theory in which acting for individual advantage is pitted against acting for collective benefit. An example has been identified among clones of a virus that infects bacteria.

    • Martin A. Nowak
    •  & Karl Sigmund
  • News & Views |

    The afterglows of powerful γ-ray bursts — short, intense bursts of γ-radiation from far across the Universe — have been puzzling astronomers for decades. The first sighting of a γ-ray burst while it was still emitting γ-rays provides much needed data on early γ-ray and optical emissions, and suggests that the radiation may be beamed (rather than emitted in all directions).

    • Peter Mészáros
  • News & Views |

    Social interaction in spiders often doesn't get much past cannibalism. But a newly discovered species in the Philippines shows both extensive parental care and a dietary specialization on other species of spider. It catches its agile, dangerous prey in a net of sticky spit.

    • John Whitfield
  • News & Views |

    Some populations of animals undergo dramatic cycles in which the numbers vary considerably, and the causes of such cycles have long been debated. Two long-term, large-scale experiments on red grouse in Scotland and voles in Finland conclude that the respective agents of population crashes in these cases are a parasitic nematode and predator pressure.

    • Robert M. May
  • News & Views |

    It is somewhat ironic that advances in semiconductor technology and computer memory have exposed flaws in our understanding of semiconductor crystal structures, especially under high pressure. New computer simulations, which include the effects of phonons — quanta of crystal lattice vibrations — in the theory, reveal a more diverse family of semiconductor structures.

    • Mark S. T. Bukowinski
  • News & Views |

    During development, cells can affect their neighbours by secreting factors called morphogens. In the fruitfly, one such factor — Sog — affects signalling by another morphogen, Dpp. But how? A clever study of Sog expression indicates that this protein can inhibit Dpp signalling in cells that are close to its source, yet stimulate Dpp in those cells that are further away. This is the first evidence for such a split personality

    • Ethan Bier
  • News & Views |

    Phages are viruses that infect bacteria. Claims are emerging that one such phage, dubbed bellovirus, first colonizes Salmonella in chickens and can then transmit its genome to the cells of the chicken -- it could thus act as a shuttle vector moving gene sequences between bacteria and their animal hosts. Such viral fooling in nature is unprecedented.

    • R. S. Siew
  • News & Views |

    The first synthetic carbohydrates have been created with heparin-like ability to inhibit thrombin and prevent blood coagulation. Not only is this a stunning achievement in terms of organic synthesis, but the synthetic version may offer fewer side effects compared with natural heparin.

    • Pierre Sinaÿ
  • News & Views |

    Single-bubble sonoluminescence is the phenomenon of creating light from sound by creating and destroying bubbles in water. Depending on the frequency of the acoustic cycle, a bubble can emit 20,000 flashes per second. Now that the physics behind single-bubble sonoluminescence is better understood, researchers may consider growing larger bubbles to create greater flashes of light and, perhaps, even fusion in a jar.

    • Robert Apfel
  • News & Views |

    Because enzymes are natural catalysts, Daedalus wonders whether he could apply the principles of piezoelectric catalysts, which he discussed last week, to them. By irradiating yeast fermentations with intense beams of tuned far-infrared radiation, he hopes to see a rise in the output, or even in the nature, of the product.

    • David Jones
  • News & Views |

    Gertrude Belle Elion: Pioneer of drug discovery, who was awarded a Nobel prize for developing drugs such as acyclovir and allopurinol.

    • Richard Kent
    •  & Brian Huber

Scientific Correspondence

Book Reviews


  • Article |

    • S. R. Kulkarni
    • , S. G. Djorgovski
    • , S. C. Odewahn
    • , J. S. Bloom
    • , R. R. Gal
    • , C. D. Koresko
    • , F. A. Harrison
    • , L. M. Lubin
    • , L. Armus
    • , R. Sari
    • , G. D. Illingworth
    • , D. D. Kelson
    • , D. K. Magee
    • , P. G. van Dokkum
    • , D. A. Frail
    • , J. S. Mulchaey
    • , M. A. Malkan
    • , I. S. McClean
    • , H. I. Teplitz
    • , D. Koerner
    • , D. Kirkpatrick
    • , N. Kobayashi
    • , I.-A. Yadigaroglu
    • , J. Halpern
    • , T. Piran
    • , R. W. Goodrich
    • , F. H. Chaffee
    • , M. Feroci
    •  & E. Costa
  • Article |

    • T. J. Galama
    • , M. S. Briggs
    • , R. A. M. J. Wijers
    • , P. M. Vreeswijk
    • , E. Rol
    • , D. Band
    • , J. van Paradijs
    • , C. Kouveliotou
    • , R. D. Preece
    • , M. Bremer
    • , I. A. Smith
    • , R. P. J. Tilanus
    • , A. G. de Bruyn
    • , R. G. Strom
    • , G. Pooley
    • , A. J. Castro-Tirado
    • , N. Tanvir
    • , C. Robinson
    • , K. Hurley
    • , J. Heise
    • , J. Telting
    • , R. G. M. Rutten
    • , C. Packham
    • , R. Swaters
    • , J. K. Davies
    • , A. Fassia
    • , S. F. Green
    • , M. J. Foster
    • , R. Sagar
    • , A. K. Pandey
    • , Nilakshi
    • , R. K. S. Yadav
    • , E. O. Ofek
    • , E. Leibowitz
    • , P. Ibbetson
    • , J. Rhoads
    • , E. Falco
    • , C. Petry
    • , C. Impey
    • , T. R. Geballe
    •  & D. Bhattacharya



  • Collection |

    Science in Latin America

    On 13 January 1999, Brazil suffered a shock which, if you listened to some commentators abroad, shook it to its very core. In São Paulo the following week, however, the locals were unfazed. By Latin American standards, a devaluation of 25 per cent (later 45 per cent) was not much to get excited about...

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