Science  06 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5757, pp. 19

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  1. RESOURCES: Sniffling Sheep and Coughing Cows

    Avian flu has captured the headlines, but it's just one of the animal diseases on the loose. Honeybees can fall victim to mite infestations, for instance, and the viral disease yellowhead decimates farmed shrimp. To corral more information about these and other illnesses, visit the site of the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health. Weekly announcements furnish the latest on outbreaks. Technical Disease Cards describe the cause, spread, diagnosis, and prevention of 16 major veterinary maladies, such as African horse sickness and vesicular stomatitis, a viral scourge of hoofed mammals. You'll find a list of international experts on particular illnesses and plenty of other resources, including conference reports and disease-prevention guidelines.

  2. WIKIS: Lab Partnering

    If you've whipped up an irresistible medium for rearing slime molds or collected some tips on performing flow cytometry, share your insights with other biologists at OpenWetWare. This wiki, or user-written collaboration, lets researchers craft virtual meeting places for their own labs or add to communal pages on methods and equipment. Started last year by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OpenWetWare now houses pages from more than 20 labs at 10 universities. Contributions include safety advice for working with ethidium bromide, a reagent for electrophoresis, and a simple protocol for mutating specific nucleotides in a gene. The pages often allow readers to choose among several labs' versions of the same technique.

  3. EDUCATION: Lighting up Life

    Long before Las Vegas imported its first neon tube, bioluminescent organisms such as the nudibranch (Phylliroe) were putting on the glitz. Find out which marine organisms generate light and how they do it at the Bioluminescence Web Page, hosted by marine biologist Steven Haddock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, and colleagues. Ocean-goers from bacteria to fishes have mastered the light-emitting reaction, in which the enzyme luciferase oxidizes the molecule luciferin. Pages illuminate how some organisms exploit this skill, such as the deep-water fishes that scan their surroundings with red light, which their prey can't see. The site's gallery teems with photos of glowing creatures. For researchers, there's a forum for listing recent publications and announcements of upcoming conferences. Haddock plans to add a link to real-time measurements of bioluminescencing organisms off the California coast.∼biolum/

  4. SOFTWARE: On Shaky Ground

    Four earthquakes of at least magnitude six have rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area since 1979. A new model from the U. S. Geological Survey might help seismologists sharpen their predictions of the next temblor's damage. Unlike standard, two-dimensional shaking maps, the simulation renders the upper 32 kilometers of Earth's crust, incorporating measurements of the seismic properties of the area's rocks. Because it's three-dimensional, the model includes features such as faults and underground basins that can divert or concentrate a quake's force. Researchers can use the tool to estimate future ground trembling and gauge the power of past, unmeasured events. Download the model here:

  5. TOOLS: Hooking Up With Antibodies

    ExactAntigen can help molecular biologists, immunologists, and other researchers track down everything from samples of the cholera toxin to monoclonal antibodies against the appetite-adjusting hormone leptin. Created by Hanqing Xie of Synatom Research in Ringoes, New Jersey, the free site trolls thousands of Web sites—mainly from commercial suppliers—and other sources to locate providers of antibodies and reagents. Users can search by categories such as gene, organism, and disease. The results often list other molecular products, such as gene-blocking siRNA molecules, along with publications and relevant patents.