ScienceScope

Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 209
  1. Hot Potato

    Britain's simmering debate over the safety of genetically modified foods is about to boil over again. Biochemist Arpad Pusztai says The Lancet on 16 October will feature part of his controversial study on the effects of genetically modified potatoes on rat guts. The Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, suspended Pusztai last year after he announced that the potatoes stunted the animals' growth (Science, 19 February, p. 1094). The journal declined to comment, but executive editor David McNamee confirmed in The Independent that publication was imminent.

    The study, hailed by activists but panned by the biotech industry and a six-member Royal Society panel, hadn't been published before. Pusztai, who is now retired, says it went through three rounds of peer review, yet he is bracing for a firestorm: “The rubbishing brigade is already out,” he says.

  2. Transparent Victory

    The U.S. government planned to publish a rule this week clearing the way for anyone to demand raw data gathered by federally funded researchers and used to support agency policy. The hotly debated regulation, hammered out in response to a law passed last year, closely follows a draft OMB proposal tailored to meet the concerns of universities and agencies. Researchers, for example, would be able to withhold private and proprietary data (Science, 20 August, p. 1189).

    George Leventhal, an analyst at the Association of American Universities, says his group is pleased with OMB's narrow interpretation. But he predicts it will be challenged in court by industry groups. The rule goes into effect early next month.

  3. Arima Out

    Japan's science community lost a champion this week when Akito Arima, a physicist and former president of University of Tokyo, was removed as minister of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture in a cabinet reshuffle. “I don't think there is anyone [in politics] who knows science and technology like Arima” says Akiyoshi Wada, an official at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) outside Tokyo. Arima's successor is Hirofumi Nakasone, a businessman and son of the former prime minister. The 69-year-old Arima, who served for 14 months, will retain his seat in the Diet and vows to keep pushing for university reforms. He also pledges to “continue to work to increase the budget for science and technology.”

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