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AIDSVAX — lessons for India
The VaxGen's vaccine did not meet its prime objective. Though the number of volunteers was small, Asians have been found to have better resistance post vaccination. Does it mean Indians are at an advantage? Only clinical, not lab or animal trials, can confirm it.

Electrifying way to deal with pests
ULTRA-SMALL electrical charges generated by an insect as it walks across a surface are being harnessed by scientists in a bid to build an eco-friendly pest-control device. This `electrostatic flytrap' would reduce the need for indiscriminate ...
Life began in freshwater and not in seas
THE ASSUMPTION that life emerged in the oceans has been thrown into doubt. New research shows that primitive cellular membranes assemble more easily in freshwater than in salt water. So although the oldest known fossil organisms were living in ...
Protein that arrests early growth in plants
FOR AN infant plant, the world outside of its seed is not always a friendly place. Drought, wind, ice and other harsh conditions would threaten its well-being were it not for the shelter of its seed. Consequently, the decision to shed this ...
Was it a foregone conclusion?
AIDSVAX, failed in meeting its prime objective. But Jean-Louis Excler, Director, Medical Affairs, IAVI, India, told R. Prasad that the vaccine to go on trial in India uses multiple HIV genes to broaden the immune ...
Radiation exposure — concerns, fears
THERE IS irrefutable evidence that high doses of ionising radiation will cause cancer in man. The evidence on the harmful effects of low doses of radiation is inconclusive. But there are some `mavericks' who believe that small doses are ...
Nucleus not a bag of chromosomes
SCIENTISTS SHOULD discard the idea that the nucleus is just a bag of chromosomes, according to Johns Hopkins' cell biologist Kathy Wilson. "The old view is the nucleus is a warehouse for chromosomes," says Wilson, associate professor of cell . ...
How Sun causes skin cancer
RESEARCHERS AT Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Karupiah Kannan and Norman Sharpless the first authors of the study have solved a mystery in cancer biology: how a sunburn acquired in childhood can develop into a tumour later. The scientists report ...
Oxygen is the key
IN THEIR ongoing research on turning adult stem cells isolated from fat into cartilage, Duke University Medical Centre researchers have demonstrated that the level of oxygen present during the transformation process is a key switch in stimulating ...
Ecstasy of mathematics II
IN MY previous article, (The Hindu 9 January 2003) it was stated that one of the sources of ecstasy in the pursuit of mathematics is the derivation of the same result by distinct methods. As an example it was shown that the ellipse is a ...
Speaking Of Science
What do scientists do?
THE QUESTION begs its own answer. Of course they do science, what else? How much, how well and what else they do is described in a recent poll by the journal The Scientist. This magazine was started over 30 years ago by Dr. Eugene ...

Paths Of Innovators
P.S. Gill (1911-2002): Physicist and instrument designer
PIARA SINGH Gill was born in Hoshiarpur District, Punjab. He had to walk 10 km daily to attend primary school. He matriculated in 1928 from Khalsa High School, Mahilpur and as per the custom in his village, sailed for America in 1929. Gill ...

Pumpkin with attractive flesh colour
A MEDIUM-SIZED pumpkin variety with attractive flesh colour and more flesh content has been recently released for commercial cultivation by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU). Developed by the scientists at the department of Olericulture, ...

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