Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 823

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  1. TOOLS: Genomics Workshop

    This site from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, supplies a dozen free tools and programs for sorting and analyzing data about genes and proteins. One popular offering is BIND, which identifies interactions between a specific molecule and others, based on information gleaned from papers, databases, and researcher contributions. Fire up TraDES to predict the three-dimensional structure of a protein from its amino acid sequence. You can also compare the genomes of multiple species or pinpoint small molecules that bind to particular proteins.

  2. EDUCATION: Small-Screen Science

    Cable TV offers more than just braying pundits and endless Law and Order reruns. Many cable systems also carry the ResearchChannel, which bills itself as “the C-SPAN of scientific and medical research” and broadcasts educational programming 24 hours a day. You can also catch the channel's mix of lectures, interviews, forums, and lab visits at its Web site. ResearchChannel shows come from more than 25 universities, the National Institutes of Health, and other sources. Recent viewers might have watched a tutorial for researchers on designing clinical trials or a discussion aimed at a general audience about the end of the universe, which featured Nobel laureate Leon Lederman and other experts. You can also call up an archive of some 1700 past programs.

  3. RESOURCES: Shot Into Space

    From Japanese red-bellied newts to pepper plants to jellyfish, a bevy of organisms has undergone scientific scrutiny while flying on board NASA spacecraft. The agency's Life Sciences Data Archive stows descriptions of more than 900 of these studies. For example, the newts rode the space shuttle in the summer of 1994 to help researchers determine how weightlessness affects the development of a gravity-sensing structure in the inner ear. To delve deeper, you can download raw data or peruse charts, tables, and other summaries. Included is a photo of the astrochimp Ham getting a warm reception after returning from a 16-minute suborbital trip in 1961.

  4. COMMUNITY SITE: Receptor Roundup

    Many hormones attach to receptors on the cell surface, but molecules such as testosterone and estrogen link up with so-called nuclear receptors within the cell. The combination then latches onto DNA, turning genes off or on. At the Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA), molecular biologists, drug designers, and other researchers can uncover information about nuclear receptors, which can go awry in prostate and breast cancer and in conditions such as obesity.

    The site's central database describes 49 receptors and, for some, supplies measurements of their messenger RNA levels at different times of the day and in various tissues. The database will grow to include receptor DNA sequences and crystal structures, says site editor Neil McKenna of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. NURSA also offers a tutorial on the discovery of nuclear receptors and their interactions with other molecules, such as the coactivators and corepressors that ramp up or hinder their activity. See how a receptor, hormone, and coactivator amalgam gloms onto a gene. Visitors can also join a discussion forum or browse the site's new, free-access journal.

  5. WEB MAGAZINE: Spotlighting Africa's Research

    Africa is known as a great place for fieldwork on, say, human origins or cheetah behavior, but you rarely hear about the continent's own researchers. Science in Africa, a popular Web magazine edited by a graduate student and a biotechnology lecturer in South Africa, aims to spread the word. The 4-year-old publication features articles about African research in areas such as ecology and genetics, often written by African scientists, and posts news stories on important issues for the continent. One recent feature whisked readers into the bush to check on possible overharvesting of the mopane worm, a tasty caterpillar prized as a source of protein in southern Africa. Another story looked at attempts to predict Africa's version of El Niño.