NetWatch

Science  16 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5755, pp. 1747
  1. IMAGES: Head Cases

    This new image bank from Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, can help researchers studying neural variability among mouse strains. Stored here are 3D brain maps for the C57BL/6J strain, a lab favorite, created using magnetic resonance microscopy. After completing a free registration, users can download images for each of 10 rodents studied. Other atlases depict the average anatomy and the variation within the group. Researchers can compare the images to structural measurements for other strains or use them as a template for mapping data on gene and metabolic activity. To help users view and analyze the scans, the site offers free software.

    www.bnl.gov/CTN/mouse

  2. EDUCATION: Catch Some Rays

    Cosmic rays spew from the sun, hurtle out of the remains of supernovas, and escape from other extraterrestrial sources. The speeding space particles, which constantly pelt Earth, interest astronomers studying questions such as the composition of the galaxy. NASA's Cosmicopia explains cosmic rays and related topics such as space weather for students and the public. Subjects include Earth's magnetosphere, the magnetic cloak around the planet that rebuffs many cosmic rays. The site also offers a Q&A written by experts, a timeline of ray research, and links to news stories.

    helios.gsfc.nasa.gov

  3. WEB LOGS: Bioethics Banter

    With an egg-donation scandal at a top cloning lab, continued skirmishing over stem cells in the United States, and last month's first-ever face transplant, 2005 has given bioethicists plenty to contemplate. To follow the latest twists in these and other science stories with social impact, dive into the Web log launched in September 2004 by the editors of the American Journal of Bioethics. Although the journal's Web site offers some news, the blog format allows broader coverage and better explanations of issues, according to the three editors, who write most of the material. Its opinionated posts have highlighted developments such as classical musicians' use of beta blockers to quell stage fright and the current controversy over how South Korean stem cell pioneer Woo Suk Hwang's lab obtained human eggs (Science, 2 December, p. 1402). You'll also find newspaper commentaries co-written by a site editor.

    blog.bioethics.net

  4. TOOLS: Species Crawl

    iSpecies provides as much information as a good Internet encyclopedia, yet it doesn't contain a single Web page. The new search engine from systematist Roderic Page of the University of Glasgow in the U.K. furnishes what Web aficionados call a mashup. Instead of housing static pages about different species, it compiles a profile of your selected organism by linking to molecular, taxonomic, and other sites. Enter “aardvark,” for example, and iSpecies tracks down images of the snouty mammal, protein and DNA sequences, a list of abstracts from recent papers, and a classification synopsis from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

    http://www.ispecies.org/

  5. EDUCATION: Avoid Lab Mix-Ups

    Nested or real-time PCR? Western, Southern, or Northern blotting? Newbies struggling to keep genomic methods straight can get help at this primer written by biologist Malcolm Campbell of Davidson College in North Carolina. Methods for Genomics isn't a lab manual but instead briefly explains more than 50 widely used techniques and pieces of equipment. With diagrams and animations, the site helps students grasp lab staples such as electrophoresis and more advanced methods such as the Cre/loxP recombination system for deleting specific sections of DNA. The content ties in with a text Campbell uses in his classes, but it also works as a standalone resource.

    www.bio.davidson.edu/courses/genomics/methodslist.html#meth2

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