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Scientific American's 21st Century Medicine (Scientific American Special Online PDF

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Extra resources for 21st Century Medicine (Scientific American Special Online Issue No. 30)

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Separating these fragments by size in a process called electrophoresis, then reading the fluorescent signal of each terminal tag as it passes by a viewer, provides the sequence of bases in the original strand [see box on preceding two pages]. Reliability and accuracy are advantages of Sanger sequencing, although even with refinements over the years, the method remains time-consuming and expensive. Most alternative 40 SCIENTIFIC AMERIC AN E XCLUSIVE ONLINE IS SUE c Query position approaches to sequencing therefore seek to increase speed and reduce costs by cutting out the slow separation steps, miniaturizing components to reduce chemical volumes, and executing reactions in a massively parallel fashion so that millions of sequence fragments are read simultaneously.

Before joining EMBL, Rosenthal directed a laboratory at the Harvard Medical School’s Cardiovascular Research Center and was a consultant on molecular medicine for the New England Journal of Medicine. SCIENTIFIC AMERIC AN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE donated eggs to work with, they were able to experiment with techniques, timing and conditions at every step. Even so, from hundreds of eggs the effort yielded only a single ES cell line, and the researchers have said that they are not certain which of their methods was responsible for that success.

S. Food and Drug Administration is now considering whether to allow clinical trials with these cells. 33 SCIENTIFIC AMERIC AN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE Since 2001, techniques for keeping ES cells alive have improved considerably, and scientists and their supporters in Congress have been clamoring for permission to produce new healthy lines. Some have not waited. Douglas A. Melton of Harvard University, whose two children have type 1 diabetes, is an outspoken critic of the current policy, and in February he announced that he had created 17 brand-new ES cell lines with private funds.

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21st Century Medicine (Scientific American Special Online Issue No. 30) by Scientific American


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