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Preventive Medicine for the Scientist

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Recently I had the pleasure of reading your editorial, “Genomics Gets Personal,” from the Nov/Dec 2003 issue. I was deeply impressed and wanted to express my appreciation for the wonderful job you have done in highlighting the truly health-oriented trends in modern biological research.

I often feel the need for voices like yours that point out the importance of preventive health studies. As a young scientist in the beginning of my own research work I often feel discouraged by disease/drug target orientation of research programs both in industry and academia. Thus, it was very refreshing to read in your editorial about scientists, doctors, and business people, such as Maynard Olson, Virginia Stallings, and Ralph Snyderman, who focus on genomics research in combination with environment and nutrition, and who emphasize the importance of preventive medicine and behavioral adjustments.

Olga Naidenko, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University Medical School

Free Scientific Data — Why Not Milk?

My response to the Sabo bill (see Genome Technology’s October issue, p. 19) is, Why not give the public free access to everything funded with government money? Do you have any idea how much American money is given to farmers every year?

For example, milk subsidies. According to the FY 2003 Budget Summary on the USDA website: Export Subsidy Programs. The Department [USDA] currently has two export subsidy programs: the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) and Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP). Under these programs, bonus payments are made available to exporters of U.S. agricultural commodities to enable them to be price competitive and thereby make sales in targeted overseas markets where competitor countries are making subsidized sales.

Export subsidies come to $540M for 2003 ... no small sum there. So, we should get free milk or at least some of the profits from overseas sales. I bet Minnesota has lots of dairy farmers taking advantage of this program.

Does Rep. Sabo want to give away some of their proceeds to any of us who ask?

(These views are my own, not those of my employer.)

George L. Murphy, PhD, Senior Scientist, R&D, Ambion

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.