SITE REVIEW: Storehouse for Biotech Lore

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Science  14 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5379, pp. 879d
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5379.879d

At a loss over how to define biotechnology, let alone ferret out resources on the Web? Take a peek at BioTech (biotech.chem.indiana.edu/), 1000 pages crammed with primers and links covering topics as diverse as genetics, nanotechnology, and lab protocols. Toward its stated goal of enriching the public's knowledge of biology, the site features valuable resources such as Cyberbotanica—a guide to anticancer compounds derived from plants (hemp to periwinkle) and the cancers they target—as well as introductory tutorials, a brand-new chemical acronyms database, and an 8200-entry, hyperlinked life sciences dictionary.

Making the site a real keeper is its road map to other Web treasures. Want to know why those hand-picked 'shrooms you sautéed last night are making your stomach do flips today? Click to the FDA's Bad Bug Book on food poisoning. BioTech serves up a wealth of heavily annotated links ranging from metabolic pathways and test animal lines to pathology and phylogeny. Explains the site's creator, University of Texas, Austin, evolutionary engineer Andy Ellington, “There was a crying need for a resource that explained resources.”

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