Indian Scientist Kidnapped

first_imgNEW DELHI–A notorious poacher has kidnapped a botanist and two wildlife photographers and has sent a message to police authorities demanding amnesty for 2 decades of crime. The kidnapping took place on 9 October in southern India’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve by Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, who allegedly has killed 140 people and more than 2000 elephants and looted the forests of some $30 million worth of sandalwood.The botanist, Satyabrata Maiti of the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bangalore, was visiting the park as a tourist when he was taken, says the Institute’s director. A government spokesperson says that police are combing the forest to find the hostages and have set up roadblocks, but that negotiations for the hostages’ release have not yet begun.In the meantime, a field station in the same forests run by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has suspended its annual study of forest dynamics, “because of the threat to the scientific staff,” says Raman Sukumar, an ecologist who heads the field station. He says that Bandipur Tiger Reserve’s game warden has also told the researchers not to enter the forests for at least another 2 weeks. If the impasse continues much longer, Sukumar says, data won’t be comparable to past measurements and that could “seriously affect” research.last_img read more

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When Will U.S. Give Up Vaccine for the Poor?

first_imgIt’s a promise: 10% of the 250 million doses of H1N1 vaccine purchased by the United States will be donated to help poor countries. But when is still unclear. At a press conference today, Thomas Frieden, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, declined to answer questions about the timing of the gift. “That has to be determined as the production schedule will become more clear in the weeks to come.” WHO expects to send some 200 million doses of vaccines donated by countries and governments to the developing world. Timing is key, because the vaccine will do the most good if it’s used before a wave of infection peaks. As WHO’s Marie-Paule Kieny just told ScienceInsider, the United States has promised the first part of its share of 25 million doses by early December. But AFP suggested last week that the United States will not donate any vaccine until it has taken care of the 159 million people in its priority groups. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)So far, the United States has received only 31.8 million doses of vaccine; 10 million more are currently becoming available each week. Around the country, people who wanted to get the vaccine have been sent home without getting the shots. Frieden today avoided questions about the topic. “Until we have a better sense of where we are and where we’re going,” he said, “it will be difficult to say with certainty when and how much we’ll be providing to other countries.” “I can tell you right now that the U.S. is not going to donate any supplies until things calm down politically,” says David Fidler, a professor of international law and a global health security expert at Indiana University, Bloomington. “People are not going to be very tolerant of the government handing over vaccine to the WHO.” Case in point, Fidler says: In a chat he conducted for The Washington Post last week, one reader called the charitable donation “an abuse of taxpayer money.”last_img read more

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Roundup 2/2: Double Take Edition

first_imgDisgraced stem cell scientist Woo-suk Hwang has prevailed in a lawsuit regarding his successful dog-cloning technique. Climate specialist John Harries will be the first scientific adviser for Wales.NASA gets middling marks from government auditors on major satellite projects.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Some are optimistic that voluntary commitments under the Copenhagen Accord announced this week can make a difference; others say the U.N. process of international promises is dead, dead, dead.Adding to money provided by the United States and France, the European agency Eumetsat has committed funds to build a new Jason satellite to monitor ocean heights. The Lancet has retracted a controversial 1998 paper that stoked fears that some vaccines could potentially cause autism. The journal was responding to findings last week by the U.K. General Medical Council that lead author Andrew Wakefield had conducted research dishonestly.last_img read more

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After 2-year battle, House passes COMPETES Act on mostly party-line vote

first_imgUpdated: FIRST Bill Draws Early Opposition (10 March 2014) FIRST Up: Lawmakers to Examine Bill Renewing U.S. Research (13 November 2013) Democrat Assault on FIRST Bill Delays Vote by House Science Panel (2 May 2014) Contentious markup expected today as House science panel takes up COMPETES bill (22 April 2015) Controversy awaits as House Republicans roll out long-awaited bill to revamp U.S. research policy (15 April 2015) After Election 2014: COMPETES REAUTHORIZATION (27 October 2014) Running the Numbers in the FIRST Bill (22 May 2014) Amid Partisan Split, U.S. House Panel Approves Controversial NSF Bill (29 May 2014) House Science Committee Drafts Controversial Bill on U.S. Research Funding (27 September 2013) FIRST at Last: Controversial Bill Introduced to Guide U.S. Science Policies (10 March 2014) NSF’s Science Board Criticizes Bill to Alter Agency’s Programs (13 March 2014) Battle between NSF and House science committee escalates: How did it get this bad? (2 October 2014) House science chief unveils contentious vision for science (23 April 2015) First Step for FIRST Bill Exposes Party Differences (12 March 2014) Everything had already been said, repeatedly. And so a controversial bill that would set policy for three major U.S. science agencies passed today after a debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that changed nobody’s mind. The vote was 217 to 205.The America COMPETES Act (H.R. 1806) has been the subject of a 2-year battle between Republican lawmakers in the House and the research community (see previous coverage, below). It would take research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) in dangerous directions, say Democrats who sarcastically dubbed the bill the America Concedes Act or the America Can’t Compete Act. It authorizes a shift in spending away from the geosciences and climate science, two areas that Republicans feel the Obama administration has indulged. It would tighten the strings on NSF’s grantsmaking process in ways that Republicans say are simply meant to serve the national interest but that most scientists consider too restrictive. It also cuts authorized spending levels at the National Institute of Standards and Technology far below what the White House has requested.“This bill does absolutely nothing” to preserve U.S. research excellence, said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), the top Democrat on the House science panel that drafted the bill, her voice almost breaking in anger as she kicked off the 3-hour debate. The chair of that committee, Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), rejected those and other accusations by Democrats. “Real priorities require making real choices,” he asserted, “and H.R. 1806 proves we can set priorities and still invest more in innovation.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The vote marks the first time the full House has approved the legislation; previous iterations had failed to make it this far. Twenty-three Republicans opposed the bill, presumably because it didn’t tighten the federal spending belt sufficiently. No Democrats voted in favor of the measure.Before today’s final vote, legislators made several small tweaks. One would increase authorized funding levels for an NSF program to help states that receive limited NSF funding and its venerable graduate research fellowships, while another endorses the need for training workshops for science and math teachers and their students and for attracting more female scientists into a program to train potential entrepreneurs. Another amendment would create a NSF program to foster science and engineering at colleges and universities with large numbers of Hispanic students. NSF officials would prefer to serve this population by extending existing programs for underrepresented minority students.A half-dozen Democrat amendments were defeated, mostly along party lines. But one caused a break in the otherwise solid GOP ranks: Twenty-five Republicans voted with Democrats to lift a ban on DOE continuing to spend more to produce commercial biofuels for the Department of Defense.The bill now moves to the Senate. Although the Senate has not drafted a counterpart, a bipartisan group of seven senators today introduced a bill focused on a subset relating to DOE research programs.The White House has already issued a threat to veto the House bill. On Monday it said that the bill “undermines key investments in science, technology, and innovation and imposes unnecessary and damaging requirements.”Here is some of ScienceInsider’s previous coverage of what has become an epic science policy battle:President’s science adviser attacks COMPETES bill in U.S. House, raises concern about NASA bill (30 April 2015) White House Science Adviser Criticizes FIRST Act (24 Apr 2014) Republican Plan to Guide NSF Programs Draws Darts, and Befuddlement, From Research Advocates (7 November 2013) Smith makes small concession in markup of COMPETES bill (22 April 2015) Harry Truman Agreed With Me, Says Chairman of House Science Panel (1 May 2014) What Representative Lamar Smith Is Really Trying to Do at NSF (9 May 2013) U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants (28 April 2013)last_img read more

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China pursues fraudsters in science publishing

first_imgChina’s main basic research agency is cracking down on scientists who used fake peer reviews to publish papers, demanding that serious offenders return research funding. The move accompanies an announcement by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) in Beijing, first reported by state media on 12 November, that it had investigated dozens of scientists involved in peer-review scams. The probe’s findings highlighted the role of China’s many unscrupulous paper brokers, which peddle ghostwritten or fraudulent papers.“If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now difficult to deny China’s research community has serious underlying ethical issues,” says Benjamin Shaw, China director for the English-language editing company Edanz in Beijing. Others caution that the sanctions on discredited authors are not severe enough to deter academic dishonesty. But the coordinated response by funding agencies and CAST, which links China’s science and technology community with the government, suggests China is taking the publishing abuses seriously.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Since 2012 scores of authors, many of them Chinese, have been snagged in a peer-review scandal involving papers published in international journals. Journals discovered that authors or their brokers had suggested their own reviewers, provided email addresses to accounts controlled by the perpetrators, and then reviewed their own work. The findings, first reported by the blog Retraction Watch, prompted major publishers to retract scores of papers. In March, the London-based BioMed Central (BMC) began retracting 43 papers, and on 18 August Springer, which owns BioMed Central, said that it would retract 64 papers. Elsevier and SAGE have also retracted papers en masse.In some cases the publishers say that authors weren’t solely to blame. “Some researchers may have innocently become implicated in attempts to manipulate the peer review process by disreputable services,” Elizabeth Moylan, senior editor for research integrity at BMC, wrote on the publisher’s blog last March after an internal investigation. Four months later, Diagnostic Pathology: Open Access, a BMC journal, took the unusual step of updating a retraction notice, noting that the authors’ institute in Shanghai, China, had found that the researchers “intended to purchase language editing services for their manuscript only and did not participate in influencing the peer review process.” The CAST investigation underscores the role of paper brokers, who profit from China’s publish-or-perish mentality. According to People’s Daily, the association contacted each of the 31 Chinese authors who had papers retracted by BMC. (BMC provided CAST with information when asked but did not collaborate on the investigation, says BMC spokesperson Shane Canning.) Fully 29 authors admitted to using a broker, with many shelling out fees ranging from $600 to more than $5500.The CAST investigation identified five companies that helped authors of the retracted papers secure fraudulent peer reviews, People’s Daily noted. (In 2013, before the peer-review scandal came to light, Science published an investigation into China’s paper brokers, uncovering schemes in which scientists could purchase authorship of accepted papers or have papers ghostwritten. One broker singled out by Science was also targeted by the CAST investigation.)The Chinese government is taking steps to prevent fraud. Earlier this month, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced that it had investigated authors of 22 retracted papers whom it had supported, revoking funding in egregious cases. If a retracted paper was submitted as the basis for a grant application, “the employer of the offending researcher has to return all of the funding for the grant, regardless of how much of the money has been spent,” NSFC President Yang Wei told Science. For fraud committed after grant approval, the foundation is revoking all money due after a paper’s submission. Because many of the retracted papers were in medical science, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is also reacting to the scandals. In September, it released new regulations requiring institutions to fully investigate cases of scientific misconduct and forbidding researchers from signing their names to papers they did not help research or write. Companies that provide legitimate English-language editing services are attempting to distance themselves from less-principled brethren. Last month, six editing companies formed the Alliance for Scientific Editing in China and adopted industry standards, such as requiring members to publish ethics policies and forbidding them from manipulating the peer review process.Such measures may not be sufficient, says Lin Songqing, an editor with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan. Until more institutions begin firing scientists who commit fraud, he says, “Paper trading will still exist for a long time.” Science administrators and officials themselves feel pressure to rack up publications, he adds—which gives them “incentive to hide the truth” about publishing abuses. Zhang Yuehong, editor of the Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE in Hangzhou, says more journals should do their own policing, adopting tools like Open Researcher and Contributor ID, which allows editors and readers to easily examine authors’ academic backgrounds.Fighting misconduct is a long-term struggle, Yang warns. “Academic fraud in different varieties comes and goes like tidal waves,” he says. “One has to watch for new forms of fraud constantly.”last_img read more

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Missing link between dinosaur nests and bird nests

first_imgThe links between dinosaurs and birds keep getting stronger: skeletal structures, feathers—and now nests. Whereas some dinosaurs buried their eggs crocodile-style, a new analysis suggests that other dinosaurs built open nests on the ground, foreshadowing the nests of birds.Interpreting the fossil record is always tough, but analyzing trace fossils such as nests is especially daunting. Those structures, and the materials used to make them, usually aren’t preserved, says Darla Zelenitsky, a paleobiologist at the University of Calgary in Canada. When paleontologists do find a nestlike structure that includes material such as sticks or other vegetation, the question arises: Was this stuff part of the original nest, or just carried there with the sediment that buried the nest and helped preserve it?To gain insight into dinosaur nesting habits, Zelenitsky and her colleagues studied the most durable parts of nests—the eggs themselves. (Being largely made of the mineral calcium carbonate, they’ve got a head start on fossilization and are sometimes incredibly well preserved.) In particular, the team looked at the size and arrangement of small pores in the ancient shells, because those details are telling in modern creatures.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Kohei Tanaka In crocodiles’ buried nests, the heat needed to incubate the eggs comes from decomposition of overlying organic matter or the sunlight absorbed by the soil. Plus, in buried nests airflow is somewhat limited, thus requiring eggs to be relatively porous to help increase the flow of oxygen into and carbon dioxide out of the eggs. But birds that brood in open nests can get by laying eggs with fewer or smaller pores.So the team compared the porosity of eggshells from 29 species of dinosaurs (including large, long-necked herbivores called sauropods; bipedal meat-eaters called theropods; and duck-billed dinosaurs) with that of shells from 127 living species of birds and crocodiles.Most of the dinosaur eggs were highly porous, suggesting that they buried their eggs to incubate them, the researchers report online today in PLOS ONE. But some of the dinosaur species in one group—a subset of well-evolved theropods considered to be the closest relatives of modern-day birds—laid low-porosity eggs, which suggests they incubated their eggs in open nests.“This is a well done paper; the results make a lot of sense,” says Luis Chiappe, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California. The findings, he says, line up other studies suggesting that some birdlike dinosaurs were warm-blooded, which would have enabled them to incubate eggs in an open nest rather than depend on rotting vegetation or sunlight. Chiappe adds that the trend toward open nests could have allowed some dinosaurs to take another step toward birdlike nesting by moving their nests into the trees.But considering only two types of nests—open versus buried—may be too simplistic, suggests Anthony Martin, a paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta. Some dinosaurs—like a few of today’s birds—may have nested in burrows, which could have offered the stable temperature and protection from predators of a buried nest but resulted in low-porosity shells. Also, covered nests come in different types: Loose vegetation piled atop a buried nest can have a lot of airflow through it, allowing eggs to have relatively small pores, whereas eggs buried in soil or similar materials might not breathe as well and thus require larger pores, he notes. Nevertheless, Martin adds, the team’s study “is a good first start toward answering the question about what early dinosaur nests looked like.”center_img A nest of fossilized eggs from an oviraptorid dinosaur of the Late Cretaceous period. last_img read more

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Common technique to prevent premature birth could actually cause it

first_img Braided sutures (top) are composed of multiple polyester fibers woven together, whereas monofilament sutures (below) are a single nylon fiber. For more than a century, surgeons have stitched up the cervices of women at risk of premature birth or miscarriage to prevent this passageway from opening up too early. But a new study suggests that the suture material most often used for these procedures could disrupt the community of bacteria in a woman’s vagina and actually increase the possibility of complications.  The most common cervical stitch involves sewing up the base of the cervix like a coin purse early in the pregnancy and then removing the stitches in the last few weeks. There are no specific guidelines on what kind of suture material is best to use, says study co-author Phillip Bennett, an obstetrics researcher at Imperial College London. For decades, surgeons have preferred braided polyester sutures because of their perceived strength and ease of use compared with thinner nylon monofilament sutures. However, recent research has shown that the multiple fibers of these braided sutures cause them to absorb fluids and harbor bacteria, thus increasing the risk of infection. “Bacteria are able to lay down a sort of matrix on the stitch,” Bennett says, “and that matrix then forms a good substrate for them to grow on.”To find out what impact all of this might have on the risks of cervical stitching, Bennett and colleagues looked at nearly 700 cases of women in the United Kingdom who had the procedure—also known as cervical cerclage—over the past decade. They found that 28% of those receiving braided sutures gave birth prematurely, versus 17% who got the single-fiber sutures. Furthermore, 15% of women with braided sutures had a miscarriage or stillbirth compared with 5% of those who received the nylon sutures, the team reports today in Science Translational Medicine.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The researchers then conducted their own randomized trial on 49 women receiving cervical stitches to look more closely at each suture type’s effects on the vaginal microbiome, the array of bacteria naturally found in a woman’s vagina. In a healthy pregnant woman, the vaginal microbiome is rich with bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus, which suppress invading bacteria with antibiotics and a strong acid. If that Lactobacillus population is somehow disrupted, foreign bacteria can colonize the vagina and cause inflammation in the cervix that can trigger premature birth, Bennett says. In the trial, 37% of the women receiving braided sutures had an increase in foreign bacteria growing in their vaginas, compared with none of the women receiving the nylon sutures. Still, in this small group of women, the researchers found no significant differences in miscarriage rates between the two suture materials. The small size of this trial, however, makes it difficult to draw conclusions, Bennett says. Imperial College London center_img Bennett and his colleagues are now studying what comprises a healthy vaginal microbiome. Eventually, this could lead to therapies, like probiotics, that could change the vaginal microbiome to reduce a woman’s risk of birth complications, he says. “The few studies there have been on probiotic therapy have not been terribly encouraging, but I think that’s because we need to know more about how the community of bacteria in the vagina works.”Clinical obstetrics researcher Andrew Shennan of King’s College London agrees with that need for more research of cervical stitching and the vaginal microbiome. But he worries that the possibly “spurious” findings of this study will lead to hasty changes in suture material without fully understanding the risks involved. Particularly, he takes issue with the “extraordinary” rates of preterm and birth complications in Bennett’s study—much higher than the average numbers seen in previous cerclage studies that mostly used braided sutures. A 2011 study comparing different cervical stitching techniques, for example, found that just 7% of women experienced miscarriage or stillbirth using mostly braided sutures, he notes.”My worry is people will rush to move away from one [suture material] when the other may also have problems,” Shennan says. The thinness of the single-fiber nylon sutures can make them more difficult to work with, he notes, causing them to come undone before it is time for them to be removed.Vincenzo Berghella, an obstetrics researcher at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is also not convinced that braided sutures are riskier. He points out that in the study’s randomized trial, four women receiving the nylon sutures had premature births, whereas none with the braided sutures had any, suggesting that the braided sutures still appear to be more effective at preventing premature births. “I’m not sure that I can completely buy that one is better than the other,” he says.last_img read more

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CRISPR slices virus genes out of pigs, but will it make organ transplants to humans safer?

first_imgGenetically engineered piglets free of retroviral sequences may provide safer organs for human transplant. eGenesis Scientists who dream of transplanting organs from pigs into people have long faced a nagging question: What about PERVs? Remnants of ancient viral infections, genes from porcine endogenous retroviruses—known by their unfortunate acronym—are scattered throughout the pig genome, and could infect a person who one day receives a pig’s heart, lung, or kidney as a replacement or temporary organ. Now, a U.S. company aiming to grow transplant-friendly pig organs reports that it has crossed these viruses off the list of concerns. Using CRISPR gene editing, researchers from the company and several academic labs created dozens of apparently healthy pigs with no trace of PERV genes.“If this is correct, it’s a great achievement,” says virologist Joachim Denner of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin who has studied the mysterious PERV sequences. Scientists still don’t know whether the viral particles they produce can infect humans at all, he notes, much less whether they would cause disease if they did. And even with PERVs off the table, pigs will require other modifications so that their organs won’t be rejected by the human immune system or cause other harms. Still, Denner says, “If it is possible to knock [PERVs] out, you should do it.”A shortage of human organs creates long waitlists for vital transplants; in the United States, about 22 people needing various organs die every day while they wait. Pig organs, meanwhile, can grow to a conveniently human size. The concern about PERVs has been hard to dismiss, however, especially because studies have shown that the viruses can infect human cells in a dish.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Scientists have already implanted cells from pig pancreases into people with diabetes and found no evidence of subsequent PERV infection. But those are small numbers of cells within a protective capsule, Denner notes. Large porcine organs, which will likely require immune-suppressing drugs to keep the patients’ bodies from attacking them, might pose a greater risk of PERV transmission. He and his colleagues recently attempted to chop PERV genes out of pig cells with an editing technology called zinc finger nucleases, but the many imprecise DNA cuts proved toxic to cells.Then CRISPR came along. Two early developers of that gene-editing technology, Harvard University geneticists George Church and Luhan Yang, suspected that CRISPR’s highly efficient duo of guide RNA and a DNA-slicing enzyme could make precise, genome-wide changes to pig cells. In 2015, they co-founded the company eGenesis to focus on engineering transplantable organs, and Yang became the company’s chief scientific officer. The same year, they showed that CRISPR could knock out PERV genes at all 62 sites in the pig genome—the most widespread CRISPR editing feat to date.But for that project, the researchers had used a line of “immortal” pig kidney cells, chosen for their ability to survive and divide indefinitely in a dish. To make PERV-free pigs, they needed to start with genetically normal cells straight from a living pig. In the new work, done with a team of Danish and Chinese collaborators, the eGenesis team applied the CRISPR system to cells derived from the connective tissue of fetal pigs. Those cells proved more fragile when subjected to CRISPR’s hack job: Once edited, they failed to grow normally, possibly because the damage to their DNA prompted them to stop dividing or self-destruct, Yang says. But by exposing the cells to a chemical cocktail that encouraged growth and tamped down on a key growth-suppressing gene, the team bumped up the portion of flourishing PERV-free cells in a dish to 100%.To produce piglets, the researchers then used a standard cloning technique: They inserted the DNA-containing nuclei of these edited cells into egg cells taken from the ovaries of pigs at a Chinese slaughterhouse. They allowed each egg to develop into an embryo and implanted it in the uterus of a surrogate mother.“Before our study, there was huge scientific uncertainty about whether the pig [produced after this editing] is viable,” Yang says. But in a Science paper published online today, her team reports that the technique produced live, apparently healthy pigs with about the same success rate as the cloning method without genetic modification—about one pig per 100 implanted embryos. And when they tested tissues from the 37 piglets born so far, all appeared to be PERV-free.The technical feat has, ironically, inspired some dread among those enthusiastic about xenotransplantation, the transfer of nonhuman animal organs into people. With the actual risk of PERVs uncertain, some worry that the extra editing will needlessly add complexity to the already-difficult organ development process, especially if the regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insist on PERV-free pigs for future human experiments. “If this is required, it will add to the time before pigs can be used for transplants in patients in desperate need,” says transplant immunologist David Cooper of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “And it will add to the cost of providing pigs for the initial clinical trials.”“At this moment, I don’t think we are very worried about PERV,” adds Muhammad Mohiuddin, a cardiac transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. His group is collaborating with the company United Therapeutics to develop implantable pig hearts. (He is gearing up to swap them into the chests of baboons, after showing last year that the organs could survive for years beating in baboons’ abdomens.) Will his team add PERV modifications to its agenda? “If FDA mandates us, ‘To move forward you need to get rid of this PERV since George Church has shown you how to do it,’” he says, “then of course, yes.”PERVs aren’t the only thing standing in the way of transplant-ready pig organs. Researchers will need to knock out pig genes that provoke the human immune system, and insert others that will prevent toxic interactions with human blood. eGenesis is working on such modifications, too. Compared to the PERV feat, Yang says, those compatibility issues are “the second challenge, and probably more challenging.” CRISPR slices virus genes out of pigs, but will it make organ transplants to humans safer? By Kelly ServickAug. 10, 2017 , 2:00 PMlast_img read more

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Ebola outbreak in Congo still not an international crisis, WHO decides

first_img By Jon CohenApr. 12, 2019 , 6:20 PM JOHN WESSELS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES “We have an Ebola gas can sitting in DRC that’s just waiting for a match to hit it,” says epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “It could blow substantially in this area any time soon.”The panel, however, “almost unanimously” agreed that there would be “no added benefit” to declaring a PHEIC, said its chair, epidemiologist Robert Steffen of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, at a press teleconference today. A number of organizations, including WHO, the DRC’s Ministry of Health, and nongovernmental groups, are doing “excellent work” to contain the outbreak, he said. “Although there was great concern about the rising numbers in some regions, the outbreak has not spread internationally and that’s now over many months.”The committee did, however, urge public health groups to “redouble efforts” to detect cases, prevent transmission in health care facilities, and find and vaccinate anyone who was in direct or indirect contact with a person who became ill. “We do not mean at all that we can lean back and relax,” Steffen says.Funding a point of conflictWHO will accept the committee’s advice and will not declare a PHEIC, said its director-general, who goes by Tedros. But he stressed that the response needs an additional $104 million to close a funding gap and carry out its plans through the end of July. “We’re calling on the international community to step up its commitment on ending the outbreak,” Tedros said. “We cannot intensify our efforts if we do not have enough funds. The current funding gap has meant that we have had to slow down preparedness activities in neighboring countries.”Osterholm was “surprised and disappointed” by the committee’s decision. “I have read, reread, and discussed at length what the conditions are that would” justify declaring a PHEIC, he says, and the DRC outbreak “fully meets the conditions. … The funding gap alone should tell you the world is not understanding the public health importance here and the emergency nature of this. WHO is sending a message that we’re concerned but it’s business as usual, and I don’t see anything as business as usual here.”But, Steffen said, “It would not be appropriate to declare a PHEIC just to generate funds.” And Jeremy Farrar, who runs the Wellcome Trust in London, agrees that a PHEIC should not be invoked to raise money.“Money is not hampering the response currently,” says Farrar, who visited the region in January. And declaring a PHEIC, he says, is a “really nuanced decision” that could even backfire—increasing fear and damaging badly needed trade in the region, for example. “Whether a PHEIC is called or not is a secondary issue,” he says. “What is needed is a rapid, evidenced-based evaluation of what has been working, and to enhance those responses as fast and as aggressively as possible. We must also ask what has not been working and why, and plan changes to these to increase their impact, and bring in new interventions. Without this we will not see a different result in the DRC.”Vaccine dataWHO today also released, for the first time, information about the impact of the still experimental Ebola vaccine, which is made by Merck of Kenilworth, New Jersey. Public health workers have been administering the vaccine in an attempt to create “rings” of immunity around infected individuals. So far, they’ve vaccinated 97,000 people, and a preliminary analysis shows the vaccine’s efficacy is 97.5%. During the West African epidemic, a formal study of the vaccine—which contains a gene for an Ebola surface protein stitched inside of a virus that affects farm animals but is harmless to humans—found it offered 100% protection 10 days after people received the shot. (That is how long it takes for a person to develop a robust immune response.)Vaccine teams in the DRC created vaccine rings around 776 cases. But security concerns—there are 20 armed insurgency groups in the area—and community reluctance to be vaccinated have prevented vaccine teams from creating rings around 175 cases. Of the 71 Ebola cases that occurred in vaccinated people, only 15 became ill 10 or more days after receiving the shot. None of those 15 people died.In the 56 people who became ill within 10 days of being vaccinated, there were nine deaths, far less than expected, a strong indication that they received partial protection. “This vaccine is highly effective,” said Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergency program and a participant in the teleconference. The challenge is “to get the message to communities.” Health workers at an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was attacked earlier this year by armed mencenter_img No need to sound the world’s loudest public health alarm bell about the lingering Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an expert panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, decided today. The controversial decision not to declare what is known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) comes as the outbreak has sickened at least 1206 people, killing 63% of them.A recent spike in cases had prompted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to convene the 11-member panel. It considered, for a second time, whether WHO should take the rare step of declaring the outbreak a global emergency, which can impact disease surveillance plans, travel, and trade. WHO adopted the PHEIC concept in 2005, and has invoked it just four times: for pandemic flu in 2009, polio eradication in 2014, the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014, and the Zika virus outbreak in 2016.Some public health experts believe WHO needed to take the dramatic step in order to draw greater attention—and funding—to fighting the DRC Ebola outbreak, which is centered in two conflict-ridden provinces the country’s northeast. Cases began to surface  in August 2018, and the outbreak is now second in size only to the massive Ebola epidemic that devastated three West African countries between 2014 and 2016. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Ebola outbreak in Congo still not an international crisis, WHO decideslast_img read more

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Gotti: ‘I don’t want Udinese job’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Udinese fired Igor Tudor this week and caretaker manager Luca Gotti assures he has “no ambitions” to keep the job beyond today’s game with Genoa. It kicks off at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview. Tudor was dismissed after back-to-back embarrassing defeats, 7-1 to Atalanta and 4-0 at home to 10-man Roma. There are several candidates for the role, with Walter Zenga as the current favourite, but Gotti will be at the helm this afternoon. “We have to leave everything else to one side and focus only on one game that is important for our position in the standings,” said Gotti in his press conference. “They were humiliating defeats, but my focus has to be on the next match. A lot of pressure swept up these players and we need to shake all of that off, think only about the football. “What happened over the last 10 days is not normality. We thought that we were on the right track, but it all fell apart simultaneously. “I want to see people who play football, who want the ball at their feet and want to make the difference. We can’t just be passive and let the game happen to us. “We’ve got to be prepared for difficulties and opportunities, because a match is rarely linear, there are moments of depression mixed with explosions of joy and we need to be ready for anything.” Genoa have been themselves transformed by the dismissal of Aurelio Andreazzoli and arrival of new coach Thiago Motta. “They recharged the batteries of their enthusiasm over the last two games. You could tell in the first half of his debut against Brescia that everything was weighing on them, but a moment changed everything and that can happen in football.” If Gotti does well as a caretaker manager, does he think that it might be a more permanent appointment? “I will remain because I am an assistant manager, but I am quite an unusual one, in that I have no ambitions of being a Serie A coach. I did it for a dozen or so years and had such an unpleasant experience that I decided I just didn’t want to do that anymore. “It’s a different type of job and I will work very hard over these days with enthusiasm, but I have no illusions of anything else.”last_img read more

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Immobile: ‘Not a simple game’

first_imgLazio striker Ciro Immobile insists the 4-2 victory over Lecce was hard-earned, as the newly-promoted side “made it difficult.” Immobile was on the scoresheet for the seventh consecutive game in the league, and is leading the Capocannoniere charts with 14 goals in only 12 games. “It was not a simple game, the Giallorossi played well. It was not easy to beat them. They put us in great difficulty at times. We were good for the victory, even though we always give our fans a little panic,” he smiled on Sky Sport Italia. “We have to continue to grow as a team, but first lets enjoy the three points.” Immobile was then asked about his relationship with Torino striker Andrea Belotti, who is fighting to be Roberto Mancini’s Italy No 9 for Euro 2020. “The national team? I have always said that the duel with Belotti is right. It is a positive battle. We are friends, and the competition is welcome.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

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Kouame was set for Crystal Palace

first_imgChristian Kouame’s serious knee injury isn’t just bad for Genoa, but also for Crystal Palace, as he was reportedly due to join for €25m plus bonuses in January. The forward was on international duty with the Ivory Coast in the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations when suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear. He turns 22 next month and was having a strong season with Genoa, scoring five goals with three assists in 11 Serie A appearances. According to Sportitalia transfer expert Alfredo Pedullà, this is also very bad news for Crystal Palace, because it’s claimed Kouame and Genoa already had a deal to make the transfer in January. It was going to be a move worth €25m plus performance-related bonuses. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

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First all-women sky-diving team to debut on IAF day

first_imgWhile other women break the glass ceiling, they smashed through it – dropping from a height of 8,000ft.Meet the first all-women team of skydivers of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which will make its official debut on Air Force Day on October 8 by jumping from an An-32 transport aircraft at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of Delhi.All of them IAF officers, a psychologist, an accounts officer and engineers make up the six-member team led by Wing Commander Asha Jyotirmoy, a mother of two.Asha, an accounts officer, is a skydiving ace, carrying on her back loads of experience apart from the parachute bag. She was led to the sport by her husband, Wing Commander EKN Swaroop, also an IAF skydiver.Her athlete background helped. Asha had competed in heptathlon at the national level before joining the IAF.Thirteen years after her first jump, she still talks about the sport with a child-like enthusiasm. “It’s something that cannot be explained. You are flying like a bird,” she said, after a practice jump with her team at the Hindan airbase on Thursday.She joined the IAF in 1997 and set her eyes on skydiving two years later. Though she met with an accident when her parachute was entangled in high-tension cables in 2001 at Tambaram in Tamil Nadu, it did not faze her. Soon, husband and wife became the first skydiving couple in the air force. In the last 11 years, she has made 560 jumps.When the IAF decided to form the first women’s team of skydivers, Asha was the obvious choice. In 2009, the team was picked and flown to scenic Car Nicobar for training. Asha missed the initial days as she was carrying her second child.advertisementFlight Lieutenant Priyanka Shedangi wanted to become a pilot but ended up being a skydiver. She is happy she did. A proud member of the women skydiving team, she now enjoys flying – outside the aircraft – much more than a pilot probably does sitting inside the cockpit.An engineer by training, Priyanka left her cushy job in a multi-national firm to join the IAF as a technical officer. For Flight Lieutenant Sangeeta Paulraj, an education branch officer, the experience was clearly out of the world as it was where the blue sky, the ocean and green coconut trees on the ground merged.Sangeeta is also the team photographer, who films the jumps with her helmetmounted camera. The Bangalorean has already completed 200 jumps.From Car Nicobar, the team shifted to Arizona, US, for a 45-day specialised training.Flight Lieutenant Priyanka Hooda, from Hissar, took to skydiving inspired by television shows on the adventure sport. The other skydivers in the team, Nisha Govardhan, an electronic and computer engineer, and Rupal Thakur are equally thrilled to be in the spotlight.last_img read more

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BCCI Working Committee meets on Monday

first_imgResolving payment-related issues with broadcast rights holder for India’s home matches, Nimbus, and revamp of various cricket academies will top the agenda when the BCCI’s Working Committee meets here on Monday.The meeting was to originally take place on December 3 but was postponed due to unavailability of some members.At Monday’s meeting, the working committee will deliberate on whether Nimbus’ request for a delay in payment should be accepted with the exact amount reported to be around Rs 100 crore.Apart from the current payment, the BCCI and Nimbus also have a long-pending ‘issue’ over radio rights. Nimbus is not happy with the All India Radio’s offer and has asked the BCCI to deal with them directly.Nimbus renewed the rights of Indian cricket in 2009 for a fee of Rs 31.5 crore per international fixture.Also likely to be on the agenda is a revamp of the various cricket academies – both regional and state.It has been suggested to the Cricket Board to remove overlapping of some functions by the BCCI’s Specialised Academies Committee headed by M P Pandove.The suggestion of the Pandove-headed committee is expected be among the items that would come up for discussion at the meeting.At the previous Working Committee meeting, the new player gradation for annual contracts was decided along with the appointment of Evan Speechly as the physiotherapist of the national team and approval of the institution of two new annual awards in memory of former captain Lala Amarnath.last_img read more

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Tennis: In-form Nicolas Almagro keen to extend run

first_imgSpanish tennis star Nicolas Almagro is looking to carry forward this year’s spectacular form into the new season which begins with the Aircel Chennai Open on Jan 2 in Chennai.The 26-year-old Almagro, who will be making his maiden appearance in Chennai, made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2010 and reached a career-high ranking of No. 9 in May before bagging his third title of the season.”Many people told me that Chennai Open is really good tournament and I will have a great experience in the city,” said the world No. 10. “I hope it will be a great week for me.”Almagro said the low point of the 2011 season was his first round defeat at Rolland Garros in a marathon near-four-hour match against Polish Lukasz Kubot.Almagro will compete against an impressive line-up of Indian and global stars including Serbian world No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic, Swiss world No. 17 and defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, former champion Xavier Malisse of Belgium and ATP World Tour’s Newcomer of the Year award winner Milos Raonic of Canada.”I just want to try to play my best tennis and if possible remain in the top 10, but I need to work very hard,” said Almagro, who had an impressive clay court run with titles at Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires and a third successive final in Acapulco this year.”I need to work on my physical and my mental strength. I need to improve my volley and try to be regular all the season,” added Almagro, who draws a lot of inspiration from compatriot and former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. “Rafa has had a lot of influence on all the Spanish players. He is a hero and all of us want to be like him.”advertisementDoubles wild cards for two Indian pairsThe young Indian doubles pair Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N Sriram Balaji along with Ramkumar Ramanathan and Mohit Mayur have been given wild cards for the main draw.Left-handed Nedunchezhiyan, with a singles ranking of 556, is the highest-ranked among the four players, all of whom are well-established in the national circuit.The organisers preferred to give chance to youngsters and not go with tried and tested names.The four are part of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association’s (TNTA) Advanced Players Program.”It’s heartening to know that four young players from Tamil Nadu will get an opportunity to showcase their talent on a truly international stage. These opportunities go a long way in developing the confidence of young players and I wish the boys the very best,” said TNTA president MA Alagappan.Tournament director Fernando Soler said the move would promote homegrown talent and ensure spectator interest.last_img read more

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