Author cites a journal article that you can't miss

August 15, 2011

It is rare that a paper in a medical or scientific journal totally grabs the author's attention.

It is rare that a paper in a medical or scientific journal totally grabs my attention. My guess is that I am not alone in this respect.

My colleague explained that he was unhappy that half the articles seemed to be describing a gene that was mutated to cause a disease he had never heard of, and for which there were no therapeutic implications (at least for the foreseeable future).

My guilty secret is that I myself, often pressed for time, tend to scan tables of contents and cruise through abstracts, and actually carefully read only a small minority of the articles in the journals. Most of these are the ones that deal with diseases of the cornea and anterior segment surgery (i.e., the most interesting field within ophthalmology).

But recently, there appeared an article with stunning photographs and far-reaching implications, and my belief is that all ophthalmologists will want to read it. With the somewhat dry title of "Self-organizing optic-cup morphogenesis in three-dimensional culture," this paper in the April 7, 2011 issue of the journal Nature describes experiments conducted by Japanese scientists working with mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells allowed to grow in a special gel-like culture medium and photographed in three dimensions.

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