Volume 400 Issue 6740, 8 July 1999

Opinion

  • Opinion |

    The results of the World Conference on Science, which ended last week, should not be exaggerated. But they are a firm basis on which governments in the developing world can plan their future support for science.

  • Opinion |

    University reforms would help Germany to combat its worrying shortage of bioinformaticists.

News

  • News |

    new delhi

    The Indian government is to convene a meeting of the country's top scientists to implement recommendations endorsed by last week's World Conference on Science.

    • K. S. Jayaraman
  • News |

    washington

    A coalition of more than 100 anti-abortionists have said that research on human embryonic stem cells is scientifically unnecessary, and are urging Congress to fund alternatives.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    washington

    James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison used private funds to isolate human embryonic stem cells from the inner cell mass of embryos left over at fertility clinics.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    paris

    The European Molecular Biology Organization is formally to support the launch of a global Web repository for literature in the life sciences, in cooperation with the US National Institutes of Health.

    • Declan Butler
  • News |

    san diego

    The Office of Research Integrity of the US National Institutes of Health is planning to launch a research programme to conduct studies on scientific misconduct and integrity issues.

    • Rex Dalton
  • News |

    budapest

    The World Conference of Science closed in Budapest last Thursday afternoon (1 July) with delegates from more than 150 countries agreeing on a number of principles and guidelines for implementing what the organizers described as a ‘new social contract’ between science and society.

  • News |

    budapest

    Women's groups attending the World Conference of Science were opening the champagne late last Wednesday night as news began to leak that they had been successful in enhancing references in the final documents to the need to improve the position of women in science.

  • News |

    budapest

    The United States has suggested that Unesco should consider "resurrecting" a previously successful division of science education within its education sector.

News in Brief

Correspondence

Commentary

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    We have known for 70 years that the Universe is expanding, but astronomers couldn't agree on how fast. We may be approaching — with 10% uncertainty — a consensus value. So is one of astronomy's greatest quests finally over?

    • Riccardo Giovanelli
  • News & Views |

    Insect flight is a complicated business: the wings don't just flap up and down, but oscillate and twist to ensure that as much of the wing-stroke cycle is creating useful aerodynamic force. The latest finding is that transient bursts of lift are generated by the wings as they rotate at the top and bottom of each stroke, enhancing the lift achieved in other parts of the cycle.

    • Robin Wootton
  • News & Views |

    If fruitflies are reared without proper nutrition they end up half the normal size. Mutations in a gene calledchicohave now been found to give the same effect. The vertebrate homologues of the Chico protein turn out to be members of the insulin-receptor substrate family, and it is thought that Chico may be part of a nutritional-sensing system that regulates cell growth in response to nutritional conditions.

    • Alison Mitchell
  • News & Views |

    Certain computing tasks — such as the travelling salesman problem — can take an exceptionally long time to solve. An attempt to understand these problems using ideas from statistical mechanics finds that such problems exhibit a discontinuous phase transition, across which drastic changes occur in the computational complexity.

    • Philip W. Anderson
  • News & Views |

    One characteristic of Alzheimer's disease is the deposition of extracellular plaques of the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). By immunizing a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease with Aβ, deposition of these plaques can be blocked. Although the mechanism is not known, this could be a first step towards a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease.

    • Peter H. St George-Hyslop
    •  & David A. Westaway
  • News & Views |

    The alkali metals have long been regarded as ‘simple metals’ because of their simple lattice structures under ordinary conditions. New calculations predict that under pressure lithium will have a paired, molecular-like structure, similar to hydrogen, that may even be insulating. This unexpected finding may lead to a revised understanding of these simple metals.

    • Richard M. Martin
  • News & Views |

    The genome of the dinoflagellate chloroplast has been analysed, and it is decidedly odd. Chloroplasts are photosynthetic organelles, and in these marine algae their genome is composed of a small family of plasmid-like molecules each carrying a gene for a protein or ribosomal RNA. Tantalizing connections with the relict chloroplasts of the parasitesToxoplasma and Plasmodiumsuggest themselves.

    • Geoff McFadden
  • News & Views |

    Geophagy is the regular and intentional consumption of soil, and proposals as to its purpose have been many and varied. A spectacular example of geophagy is the highly selective consumption of earth — clay in particular — by flocks of certain parrots in the Amazonian rainforest. The reason, as reported in a new study, is that in the birds' stomachs the clay detoxifies foods that the parrots would otherwise be unable to consume.

    • Jared M. Diamond
  • News & Views |

    The sap in tall trees is thought to be under permanent tension. In the same way that some materials are only stable under high compression, Daedalus hopes to engineer new materials that are stable under strong tension. Such substances may show ‘anti-creep’, which could be exploited to make self-tightening materials.

    • David Jones
  • News & Views |

    Oleg Ptitsyn: pioneer in protein folding who formulated the influential concept of the ‘molten globule’ as a key intermediate in the folding process.

    • Christopher M. Dobson
    •  & R. John Ellis

Millennium Essay

Scientific Correspondence

Book Review

Article

Letter

New on the Market

  • New on the Market |

    Warming to the theme of biotechnolgy, a new heatsealing device handles PCR plates, and DNA is separated, amplified, purified and sequenced. This notes are Compiled in the Nature office from information provided by the manufacturers. For more details, fill in the reader service card bound inside the journal.

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