NetWatch

Science  28 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5650, pp. 1483
  1. DATABASE: Molecular Who's Who

    Can't remember which carbon bonds to the sulfur atom in the amino acid cysteine? Need to know whether any clinical trials are testing retinoic acid's effectiveness against cancer? Click on ChemIDplus, a database from the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. The site profiles nearly 370,000 compounds and provides structure diagrams for more than 180,000. To learn more about research on a particular molecule and its health and environmental effects, follow the links to databases such as PubMed, the Haz-Map listing of occupational exposures, and ClinicalTrials.gov. If you don't know the molecule's name, you can search by drawing its structure on an interactive sketchpad.

    chem.sis.nlm.nih.gov/chemidplus/

  2. IMAGES: Blueprint for a Heart

    A human heart forms from a pair of nondescript tubes that fuse and swell. By the fourth week after fertilization, the tiny organ is pulsating and beginning to coil into its final shape. Students can follow the twists and turns of circulatory system development with this nifty set of animations from anatomist Valerie O'Loughlin of Indiana University, Bloomington.

    The eight lessons cover human circulatory embryology from the condensation of the rudimentary heart to the formation of the pericardial sac that sheathes the organ. Captions point out which unpromising-looking bulges will give rise to the atria, ventricles, and other structures and track how they change. Quizzes let students test their knowledge before and after watching each lesson. O'Loughlin just added a set of animations that illustrate the development of the head and neck, and within the next few months she plans to post others on the formation of the digestive system and the limbs.

    www.indiana.edu/∼anat550/embryo_main

  3. IMAGES: Publicity Hounds and Shutterbugs

    This thirsty tenebrionid beetle of Africa's Namib Desert pulled a clever trick to get a drink: It scaled a dune on a foggy morning and faced away from the wind. By ducking its head, the beetle then channeled the droplets of dew that condensed on its body toward its mouth. The photo, snapped by Olivier Grunewald of France, nabbed a prize in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. At this online exhibit, you can admire the best entries in the contest, sponsored by the Natural History Museum in London and the magazine BBC Wildlife. The striking shots include an African wild dog teasing a zebra and a badger stealthily approaching a backyard pond for a drink. The photographers' captions often add nuggets of natural history.

    internt.nhm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wildwin/2003

  4. EDUCATION: Down-to-Earth Teaching

    Aimed at earth science and environmental science teachers, Earthguide is a collection of links, articles, and other classroom materials amassed by undergrads at the University of California, San Diego. The site highlights news stories on subjects that can kindle students' interest, such as the mammoth solar flares that erupted last month. For a deeper look at some of these subjects, try the backgrounders, including some written by experts, on global warming, diatoms, El Niño, and other topics. Links connect to varied resources such as ocean maps, a gallery of bioluminescent creatures, and a glossary of volcanology terms.

    http://www.earthguide.ucsd.edu/

  5. TOOLS: One-Stop Biomedical Search

    Now you won't have to jump from site to site to scan the vast holdings of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). This new gateway page lets you simultaneously troll 18 databases, including NCBI's PubMed, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, and GenBank, along with linked sites such as the Protein Data Bank. You can also search 30 full-text books on everything from retroviruses to neurochemistry and screen a host of NCBI Web and FTP sites, where you can corral data and software.

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery/gquery.fcgi

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