The open lab: science blogging anthology published

openlabIt highlights the power of science blogging that from today you can buy a copy ($19.95) or download a pdf ($8.69) of The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006, edited by one of my favourite Scienceblogs by Seed blogger, Coturnix aka Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around the Clock. And there is a terrific story behind the Anthology: 3 weeks hard work, a very good offer from the next generation publisher Lulu.com, a coming Science Blogging Conference. With the words of Bora: “You can see here how it all got started, just three weeks ago, smack in the middle of the holidays when nobody was online and traffic was down to a third of the normal – and the whole thing just exploded!”

There are of course some great stuff in it for instance Pharyngula’s post on molecular genetics and Opening the Scientific Process by Public Rambling. You can read all the posts of the Anthology here. Unfortunately there is hardly any post in it (for the first screening), which I can consider as deep stem cell biology, regenerative medicine or life extension, a missing point which was mentioned before in the case of the whole Scienceblogs.

Anyway, congratulations for the project and I wish good sales and conference for the represented science blogger community !

The birth of the stem cell niche concept: Schofield, 1978

In David Scadden‘s elegant review on The stem-cell niche as an entity of action I found the historically first article in which the concept of the stem cell niche was proposed: “The concept of a niche as a specialized microenvironment housing stem cells was first proposed by Schofield almost 30 years ago in reference to mammalian haematology, although experimental evidence was first provided by invertebrate models”. Now Schoefield is an active researcher since then and the paper was published in Blood Cells. Here is the abstract of the paper, notice the context (primary HSC candidate), the now familiar concepts like “immortality of stem cell population” and also the weird ones like “first generation colony-forming cells”.

“Several experimental findings that are inconsistent with the view that the spleen colony-forming cell (CFU-S) is the primary haemopoietic stem cell are reviewed. Recovery of CFU-S, both quantitatively and qualitatively, can proceed differently depending upon the cytotoxic agent or regime used to bring about the depletion. The virtual immortality of the stem cell population is at variance with evidence that the CFU-S population has an ‘age-structure’ which has been invoked by several workers to explain experimental and clinical observations. To account for these inconsistencies, a hypothesis is proposed in which the stem cell is seen in association with other cells which determine its behaviour. It becomes essentially a fixed tissue cell. Its maturation is prevented and, as a result, its continued proliferation as a stem cell is assured. Its progeny, unless they can occupy a similar stem cell ‘niche’, are first generation colony-forming cells, which proliferate and mature to acquire a high probability of differentiation, i.e., they have an age-structure. Some of the experimental situations reviewed are discussed in relation to the proposed hypothesis.”