RESOURCES: Seeking Cnidarians

Science  17 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5704, pp. 2009
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5704.2009c

Who needs a brain? The cnidarians—corals, jellyfish, sea anemones, and their relatives—have stuck around for more than 500 million years without one. Researchers intrigued by these animals will find everything from stunning photos to genomic data at these two sites., run by German zoologist Vreni H1/4aussermann, focuses on the group that includes corals and sea anemones. You can connect with fellow researchers by browsing a directory or joining a discussion forum. The site also includes a taxonomy of the group; species lists for Hawaii, the Mediterranean Sea, and other places; and several bibliographies. At left is the rare blue form of Phymactis, an anemone found from Peru to Chile.

Although the work lags behind genomic studies on nematodes and fruit flies, molecular biologists have been amassing data on sea anemones and their kin. At the Cnidarian Evolutionary Genomics Database, or CnidBase, from Boston University, users can track down and compare summaries of gene expression studies gleaned from the literature for more than 20 species. The site, aimed at exploring cnidarian biodiversity, also lets you search for particular sequences in cnidarian DNA and find the latest genomics papers.

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