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Xine Volume 6  - number 3 April, 2006

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to Xine, the source for Xenopus news and information. Here's what's happening...

Important news about Xenopus Microarrays - contributed by Steve Klein

Affymetrix is considering making a second generation Xenopus chip. Currently, the Affy leadership is trying to decide whether to make a Chip for Xenopus OR for for another model organism. It is rumored that they will only produce chips for ~4 model organisms this year and Xenopus under consideration as one of these. To help with their decision, they are asking for information from the community, such as preference for laevis, trop or combined laevis/trop; and the number of chips that they can expect to sell.

To help gather this information, Affy has designed a brief survey on a third party survey website ( Please visit this site during the coming week to complete the survey. A large and rapid response from the community will help convince Affy to build this chip for us.

Unhappy news - contributed by Mike Klymkowsky

It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that our colleague Larry Etkin passed away recently. For those of you who did not know Larry, I reprint the notice issued by MD Anderson below.


Laurence Etkin, Ph.D., professor in Molecular Genetics and a widely respected molecular genetics researcher and educator, died March 22 in a Houston hospital after a brief illness. He was 61.

During more than two decades at M. D. Anderson, Etkin made major contributions to advance understanding the role of maternally expressed gene products in vertebrate development. His frog studies provided basic knowledge of embryological events and identified factors important to normal cell division.

Distinguished Career "He was the very model of a successful and valuable academic scientist in the cancer center setting," said Michael Siciliano, Ph.D., professor in Molecular Genetics. "His experimental system was a rather ugly type of frog (Xenopus), but Larry saw the beauty in this creature as a source of very large cells early in the organism's development. ... This work is beginning to help us understand cancer cell proliferation."

Etkin authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles and about 20 book chapters. He served as editor-in-chief of the journal Differentiation from 2000 through 2005 and was a director of the International Society of Differentiation for seven years. In 2003, he became a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Study Section on Developmental Biology and the American Heart Association Western Division Study Section.

At M. D. Anderson, Etkin held the Abell-Hanger Foundation Distinguished Professorship. His peers selected him for the 2000 Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research. He shared his research as a devoted teacher of master's and doctoral students at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, which M. D. Anderson operates jointly with the UT Health Science Center at Houston. The graduate school honored him multiple times with its Dean's Teaching Excellence Award.

"Dr. Etkin was a highly respected and productive member of our research faculty for more than 20 years," said Margaret Kripke, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer. "He will long be remembered for his willingness to help others, especially the graduate students and trainees he mentored in his laboratory."

GSBS Dean George Stancel, Ph.D., described Etkin as "a real stalwart" who taught more than 20 Ph.D. students in his own laboratory and served on advisory and examining committees for more than 100 other students. "You don't get asked to serve on that many committees unless your faculty colleagues and students respect your science and hold you in high esteem as an individual. Larry Etkin has left a very large mark on the graduate school."

Several colleagues recalled how Etkin frequently would get up in the middle of the night and return to his laboratory to check on critical experiments. They appreciated his thirst for knowledge and told how excited Etkin was after a development leave spent at the University of California-Berkeley to learn how to use nanotechnology to develop new probes and apply emerging biological imaging techniques to research at M. D. Anderson.

Background in Biology Etkin was born March 7, 1945, in Philadelphia and received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Temple University. He earned his Ph.D. in developmental biology and genetics in 1977 from Indiana University. He took postgraduate training at Georgetown University, Indiana University and the University of California-Berkeley. He was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of Tennessee for four years before joining the M. D. Anderson faculty in 1984. He was promoted to professor of molecular genetics in 1992.

Survivors include his wife Lorraine, who retired from M. D. Anderson in 2004 as administrator in Human Resources Employee Health; three sons, Marc Etkin, M.D., who specializes in emergency medicine in San Diego; Scott Etkin, a police officer in the San Francisco area, and his wife, Erica; and Craig Etkin, who owns an Internet publishing company, and his wife, Dina, of Dunsmuir, Calif.; three granddaughters; and one brother, Alan Etkin, of Philadelphia.

No funeral is scheduled, but plans for a memorial service at M. D. Anderson will be announced later.

Call for content

Xine could be used to disseminate information and protocols of general utility to the research community. In order for this to occur, please send any such contributions to the editor who will include them in a future (or special) issue of Xine.

Links to useful sources of information for Xenopus (in no particular order)
Please let me know if something should be added.

general interest and utility Trans NIH Xenopus initiative - Harland lab X. tropicalis site - Grainger lab X. tropicalis site - Amy Sater's X. tropicalis genetic map site - Information on the X. tropicalis listserver - Peter Vize's Xenopus �ber database

genomic resources - XDB at NIBB - Naoto Ueno's X. laevis EST database - Xenopus gene collection - full length collection at the Gurdon Institute - JGI X. tropicalis genome site with browser and other info - AXELDB - Christof Niehrs' Xenopus database

If you wish to read Xine in html format and/or see back issues, they are available at the following places

Subscription information

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Until next time.