Science: Defining DNA/Retracting science/Womb cancer gene/Bomb or earthquake?/HIV lives

theoretically ...

Telomerase, the enzyme that repairs the telomere - the "fuse" on the end of DNA - may not be the fountain of youth after all. Experiments in mice have shown that you can rebuild telomeres without the enzyme. "This might mean telomerase is simply a back-up enzyme," said Tom Lindahl of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Tough on the US companies that have invested millions in hope of an anti-ageing breakthrough.

"Occasional retraction of published data is a normal part of the scientific process." So notes the journal Science - where, you'll recall, a study about pesticides, later found to be faulty, was published. Science is now issuing notice not only of breakthroughs, but also their converse - retractions - in its publicity material. The latest are some chemistry papers from 1994 and 1995 on a new spectroscopic technique to identify the bonding arrangement of atoms in an enzyme. Hope your PhD doesn't rely on it.

Gene of the week is one that may be linked to cancer of the womb. A team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and Tohoku University School of Medicine in Japan, reported in Nature Genetics that they found a mutation of the PTEN gene, on chromosome 10, in 55 per cent of the women they studied who had cancers of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). Initial speculation is that PTEN may be a tumour suppressor gene - like its more famous cousin p53 - whose failure can allow cancer. Endometrial cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women, with about 35,000 diagnoses annually.

Was it a bomb? Was it an earthquake? The latter, say American seismologists, who say that US intelligence sources are ignoring publicly available data which would show that there was a small "seismic event" about 130km off the coast of northern Russia. However, the Department of Defense said that the event, on August 16, had "explosive characteristics" - indicating that Russia might be carrying out underground nuclear testing. That would undermine the Clinton-backed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the Republican party in the US opposes, as do some DoD sources.

A live HIV vaccine test - where 50 volunteers agreed to be injected with a "weakened" virus - could still cause Aids, says Boston scientist Ruth Ruprecht. She told New Scientist: "Weakening the virus's ability to replicate is not a safe vaccine strategy."

The German molecular biologist who admitted faking data in research papers has been dismissed from her job. Marion Brach, a professor at the University of Lubeck, admitted in May to falsifying data. Colleague Friedhelm Herrmann, has also been charged but has denied wrongdoing.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen