Volume 398 Issue 6730, 29 April 1999

Opinions

  • Opinion |

    Cell biology is flourishing, in the liveliness of its community and in the breadth and connectivity of the science. Hence today's launch of Nature Cell Biology, complementing Nature's continuing enthusiasm for the subject.

News

  • News |

    tokyo

    Full electronic versions of selected Japanese scientific journals will soon be available, thanks to a government-led project that provides technical support to national research institutes and academic societies.

    • Asako Saegusa
  • News |

    munich

    Switzerland has rejected an application from the German biotechnology company AgrEvo to conduct filed trials of its genetically modified herbicide-resistant maize.

    • Alison Abbott
  • News |

    washington

    The third largest maize processor in the United States has announced that it will not accept genetically modified maize that has not been approved for import by the European Union.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    stockholm

    Sweden's new science minister, Thomas Östros, is moving to strengthen links with the science community that came under severe strain under his predecessor.

    • Peter Sylwan
  • News |

    washington

    A two-ounce Mars Sundial will be fixed to the Mars Surveyor 2001 lander due to touch down on the Red Planet in January 2002.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    san diego

    US efforts to create a Biodiversity Observatory Network are speeding up as part of a broader effort by the National Science Foundation to chart the country's biocomplexity.

    • Rex Dalton
  • News |

    washington

    A $1.4 billion project to build the world's most powerful neutron source has fallen several months behind schedule during its first year of construction and is facing major difficulties in obtaining further construction funds.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    tokyo

    Japan is to set up a body to evaluate engineering and technology departments at universities to develop a system that will set teaching standards equal to those in the West.

    • Asako Saegusa
  • News |

    washington

    Scientists are split over a decision by the Clinton administration to preserve one of the two known stores of live smallpox virus.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    new delhi

    Eight workers were exposed to “mild radioactivity” when about six tonnes of heavy water leaked during the inspection of a coolant channel tube at an Indian power station last month.

    • K. S. Jayaraman
  • News |

    hammamet, tunisia

    Investment in biotechnology could be Africa's route to future economic prosperity, according to Thomas Odhiambo, the outgoing president of the African Academy of Sciences.

News in Brief

Correspondence

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate a mushroom from the fungal tribe Leucocoprini as a source of food. But a new study shows that there is another partner in this mutually beneficial relationship -- a bacterium from the genusStreptomyces, which produces antibiotics to prevent infestation of the ant garden by the fungal parasite Escovopsis.

    • Ted R. Schultz
  • News & Views |

    The search for a practical quantum computer has come one step closer to reality with the creation of a solid-state 'quantum bit', or 'qubit'. A qubit is a two-state quantum system, which offers greater efficiency than the classical computer bit. What makes this latest qubit so exciting is that it can be controlled externally allowing the device to be switched between states.

    • D. V. Averin
  • News & Views |

    How do arms or wings (forelimbs) become different from legs (hindlimbs)? It all hinges on the expression of specific transcription factors in the embryonic fore- or hindlimb buds. Expression of the Tbx5 protein in the chick results in the development of wings, whereas the Tbx4 protein specifies legs. Misexpression of these proteins generates wing-like legs and leg-like wings, respectively, and should tell us much about the mechanisms by which these proteins act.

    • Lee Niswander
  • News & Views |

    Techniques used by molecular biologists and geochemists have been combined to uncover a new type of microbe that lives off a diet of methane gas seeping from marine sediments. Although no organism that can consume methane anaerobically has ever been identified, circumstantial evidence indicates that such a microbe -- genetically related to methane-producing bacteria -- is lurking in deep marine sediments.

    • Roger Summons
  • News & Views |

    Many membrane proteins are taken up into the cell by the process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis — the proteins are pinched off in vesicles coated with the protein clathrin. A study using a fusion protein (green fluorescent protein combined with the clathrin light-chain) now indicates that formation of these coated pits may be coupled to events at the membrane skeleton, possibly through scaffold proteins.

    • Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz
  • News & Views |

    It seems likely that the warming of the Earth's atmosphere is caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, and that the warming trend will continue long into the future. What have been, and will be, the consequences for the occurrence of extreme events such as storms, floods and droughts? There are no straightforward answers, but climate models employing nonlinear analysis may be a way forward.

    • Klaus Hasselmann
  • News & Views |

    There are many similarities between nematodes and mammals in the pathways that lead to programmed cell death. There are also differences, and one of these is now highlighted -- it seems that mammals have an extra level of complexity. A protein called FLASH has been shown to modulate the activity of a killer protease (caspase), and even its existence was completely unexpected.

    • Jan Paul Medema
  • News & Views |

    How does a cell regulate its exit from the stage of the cell cycle known as mitosis? The answer, surprisingly, involves a new regulatory principle. Exit, it seems, is controlled by switching off mitotic kinases, and this is done by a phosphatase called Cdc14, an inactive form of which is sequestered in the nucleolus until needed. This is the first time that nucleolar localization has been shown as a regulatory mechanism.

    • Jeffrey B. Bachant
    •  & Stephen J. Elledge
  • News & Views |

    Brain scans or blood sampling of praying monks and nuns could provide objective evidence for religious belief. By identifying a crucial religious chemical, Daedalus believes a new 'Theological Prozac' would enable everyone to experience true religious feelings.

    • David Jones

Scientific Correspondence

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