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Volume 444 Issue 7121, 14 December 2006


  • Editorial |

    A conviction, the passage of a bill, and the arrival of some new committee chairmen have markedly improved the immediate outlook for biomedical research in the United States.

  • Editorial |

    Researchers who work with animals should join the discussion on animal experimentation.

Research Highlights


News in Brief



  • Business |

    A spin-off from a UK university has established a solid niche as a leading supplier of microsatellites. But taking the company to the next level is a challenge. Geoff Brumfiel reports.

News Feature

  • News Feature |

    Many scientists have nuanced views on animal research. But they are rarely heard, says Emma Marris.

    • Emma Marris
  • News Feature |

    Researchers aren't the only ones who concern themselves with animal welfare in the lab. Vets are asked regularly to monitor and care for these animals — a role that can call for some difficult decisions. Kerri Smith talks to Sarah Wolfensohn, head of veterinary services at the University of Oxford, UK, about the challenges and conflicts presented by caring for experimental animals.

    • Kerri Smith
  • News Feature |

    Primate researchers have long faced violent protests over their work. But in some countries, regulatory obstacles are taking a greater toll. David Cyranoski meets European scientists who feel that bureaucratic pressures are closing their labs.

    • David Cyranoski
  • News Feature |

    Coordination and integration of the results of animal research are an ever-increasing challenge. Jane Qiu finds out what happens when big biology meets a small rodent.

    • Jane Qiu


Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    What's special about the best popular science books?

    • Jon Turney
  • Books & Arts |

    A selection of books on the lighter side of science for the holiday period.

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    How much momentum does light transfer to a material through which it passes? This is a surprisingly opaque matter, contested for almost a century, that is still the object of theory and experimentation.

    • Ulf Leonhardt
  • News & Views |

    The infectious form of the malaria parasite has thousands of proteins, making it tough to develop a vaccine for it. Narrowing down which proteins cause protective immune responses may help resolve the problem.

    • Stephen L. Hoffman


  • News & Views |

    Leukaemic cells and normal blood-producing cells relate differently to their surroundings. This concept has now been extended to leukaemic stem cells, suggesting a fresh approach to therapy.

    • David A. Williams
    • Jose A. Cancelas
  • News & Views |

    Fabricating large-scale semiconducting surfaces for the flexible screens of the future is a bothersome business. A simple technique for growing single-crystal organic semiconductors brings new vision to the field.

    • Paul Heremans
  • News & Views |

    Nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain are produced by sodium channels in the neuronal membrane. Studies on people who are unable to feel pain identify one specific sodium channel as essential to the process.

    • Stephen G. Waxman
  • News & Views |

    Observations of a phenomenon known as the magnetic fountain effect in superfluid helium are not just beautiful experiments, but could also supply a tool for studying many other exotic magnetic phenomena.

    • Shaun Fisher
    • George Pickett
  • News & Views |

    Inhibition of the insulin-signalling pathway leads to insulin resistance, an early step in the development of type 2 diabetes. A novel family of protein activators seems to act near the pathway's inception.

    • Catherine Jackson

Brief Communication


Review Article



Technology Feature


Special Report

  • Special Report |

    Five scientists nominated by their peers have created nurturing research environments and fostered fields and careers far beyond their labs. Carina Dennis and Janet Wright give credit where it's long overdue.

    • Carina Dennis




Brief Communications Arising


  • Insight |

    Obesity and Diabetes

    The incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly, threatening health worldwide. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome, an obesity-related condition and risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is also increasing. Greater understanding of the processes involved in these disorders is therefore urgently required, as are new treatment options.

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