Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Real Science Is No Longer In the Academic Lab (Score 1) 444 444

The problem is that it restricts science to a narrow set of topics. Areas of research that do not have an obvious payout at the end will not be initiated, even though they could provide substantial benefits to humans. Vaccine development is one example of an area of applied research that is not a big money maker and thus not picked up by companies. Basic research where knowledge and understanding is the end product is also not much of a money maker. But, it is important. New genome editing tools are good examples of recent basic research advances that will probably change humanity. This area of research never would start in a company.

Comment: Re:I'm all for this (Score 2) 299 299

One point is that the off-target effects have a chance of messing up other parts of the genome while repairing the CFTR mutation. We still don't really have a good handle on how bad these off target effects are, and how to control them. So, until that is figured out, I don't think it is such a slam dunk decision.

If we can eliminate these concerns, then the decision seems rather simple in cases like CF.

Comment: Not just lack of funding (Score 2) 348 348

It is also the mechanism whereby it is distributed that is the problem. We get grants for a few years at a time for discrete projects. When one of these grants is not renewed, a lab can basically collapse and then shut down completely. This prevents long term thinking and taking the risk on something that won't fit in that 2-5 year window and on that specific project. The NIGMS at NIH is trying out a new way to provide more stable funding in exchange for less overall funding for some labs. Think of it as funding people rather than projects ( I think it is a good start.

Comment: Re:Is there any 'value' to Star Wars? (Score 1) 98 98


My 5 year old boy and 7 year old girl freakin love Star Wars.They have watched and rewatched all six movies.

Most of their little friends love Star Wars, too. Take a look at toy stores, and you fill find sections of Star Wars junk, indicating the continued interest among youngsters..

Star Wars.has already been "passed down" to the next generation.

Comment: Re:medical devices directive (Score 1) 41 41

I don't think this is as big of a problem as you do.

Regardless of the instrument's origin (bought for big $ from company or open source built), scientists are going to run positive controls. It's a common practice for GOOD experiments. In this case, apply treatment X to a mouse, and you should see response Y as measured by the instrument. If you don't see response Y in the positive control, you cannot trust experimental results. If the positive control give expected results, then reviewers have little choice but to accept the experimental result.

You need to do the same thing for fancypants commercial instruments to make certain they are working properly, operated properly, and the rest of the experimental variables (the mice, the treatment) are as expected.

Bottom line is that if the homebrew instruments work reliably for the positive controls, they will be easily accepted.

Comment: Re:Fabricated results (Score 5, Interesting) 61 61

I think this is the explanation. The lead author convinced herself that the procedure worked. Apparently, she was rather easily convinced by her own ideas. In order to convince other scientists, she had to fabricate some results. Those fabricated results enabled publication of the papers through peer review.

The whole thing stinks. Let's say there is some merit to making pluripotent cells by stressing them with acid. Well, by lying about some of her results, the lead author essentially poisoned the whole area of research. She has made it difficult to now work on this topic because it will be overly scrutinized by any reviewer. Let say the whole idea is bogus. The lead author wasted time and energy of researchers around the world who are interested in this process.

Although this may be obvious. The lesson is just never make up data. It is so myopic to think that you will benefit in any REAL way.

Comment: Re:Osteopath cred? (Score 1) 200 200

Not really. Osteopathy works for neck, back and other musculo-skeletal problems. For someone who wants to medically help people, it makes sense to seek this knowledge in addition to the allopathic MD curriculum.

Now, there are some other aspects of the training, like cranial therapy, which have not been proven to be effective. You can call practitioners of these types of therapies quacks. Fine with me. But, most DOs never draw from that part of their training when they actually go to the clinic. To condemn someone as a quack because they sought useful training that included some non-useful aspects - that doesn't make much sense.

Comment: Re:Osteopath cred? (Score 1) 200 200

Didn't mean to call you a name. The AC was the twit, as his example was given for homeopathy, which is complete bullshit witchcraft.

That said, I respectfully disagree with your point of view.

I know dozens of MDs and DOs. I teach at a medical school and know curriculum at Osteopathy schools. Many DOs take the American Medical Association tests for their board exams. As far as I can tell, they are essentially the same with the exception that DOs get an osteopathic manipulation training.

Now, I am not going to argue that the osteopathic manipulations work for non-musculoskeletal problems.

But, I will argue that the person is not some quack just because they got training in osteopathy.

Comment: Re:Designer babies (Score 2) 155 155

I think genetic engineering is definitely within a lifetime. We have been making genetic changes in the germline of mice for over 25 years. It was horribly inefficient for about 23 of those years. Now, it is fairly easy with RNA Guided Nucleases like CRISPR/Cas9. We are starting to develop treatments for diseases based on engineering somatic cells in adults. Going to germline modification in the human will take some technological developmental and refinements. But, it is not a large conceptual step to go to from genome editing in mice to humans.

Comment: Re:Designer babies (Score 1) 155 155

Actually, editing the genome is not that far off. We do it in mice and other animals with ease. A recent discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 RNA Guided Nucleases make it a remarkably trivial procedure.

In GATTACA, embryos were screened for beneficial alleles, and the one deemed to be "best" were implanted. This is different than actually editing an embryo's genome.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"