This week, we discover how fossil DNA from Siberia reveals a new human ancestor, learn about the first clinical trial to use RNA interference on tumours, and hear about the wait to see if an anti-ageing molecule holds the key to longevity. Plus, what’s hot elsewhere in Nature. Read more
Colour change shows the presence of minuscule amounts of key enzymes.
Expanded programme of academic collaboration promised.
Samples could reveal unique life forms from beneath the ice.
Translational work set to receive a boost.
“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food. We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history’s most famous dinner.”
Brian Wansink, of Cornell University, says depictions of portion sizes in paintings of the last supper have grown over time (BBC).
“There have been horrific examples where scientists are being sued for alleged defamation…ending libel tourism is very important.”
UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw backs calls for libel reform (Press Gazette).
“The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.”
Burt Rutan, of Scaled Composites, comments on the first test flight of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise craft, carried below a plane (CNN).
Nature’s Katharine Sanderson is now in sunny San Francisco at the American Chemical Society spring meeting. She’s under orders to attend as many of the 13,000 presentations and speak to as many of the 16,000 attending chemists as she can.
Yesterday the University of East Anglia announced the members of a review panel that would be investigating the scientific papers produced by its Climatic Research Unit, in the wake of the ‘climate-gate’ email theft.
Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, noted approvingly that the panel headed by Lord Oxburgh was made up of “high-quality” individuals of authority and integrity.
“We will now see predictable attempts by so-called ‘sceptics’ to discredit the panel before it has even started work so that its findings can be conveniently dismissed unless it hands a propaganda goal to those who promote denial and complacency about the causes and consequences of climate change,” he added.
And so it came to pass…
“Commenters are also noting the background of Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of the RS panel. Lord Oxburgh is:
• President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association
• Chairman of wind energy firm Falck Renewables
• A member of the Green Fiscal Commission
So we have a chairman with a direct financial interest in the outcome. I’m not sure this is a surprise.”
“The man could scarcely be more parti pris if they’d given the job to Al Gore. … So the chairman of this “independent panel” has a direct financial interest in the outcome.”
– James Delingpole, The Daily Telegraph
“Climate sceptics questioned whether Lord Oxburgh, chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables, was truly independent because he led organisations that depended on climate change being seen as an urgent problem.”