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December 26, 2005
-- Genetic Modification Clinical Research
therapy offers the tantalizing promise of curing genetic diseases by
repairing the mutations that underlie them. This site contains
protocols for more than 600 gene therapy trials completed or launched
since 1990. You can search the site by disease, investigator, vector,
or location, and the database includes abstracts as well as details on
December 19, 2005 -- Anatomy & Physiology Animations,
Movies & Tutorials
This collection of visuals to help
students understand key processes in biochemistry, physiology,
genetics, or cell biology links to more than 100 teaching animations
that bring to life everything from cancer formation to muscle
contraction. Students can follow the movement of ions into and out of a
neuron during an action potential, for example, or learn the difference
between peptide hormones, which fasten to receptors on a cell's
surface, and steroid hormones, which infiltrate the nucleus.
December 12, 2005 --
the latest developments in butterfly research go to the Lepidoptera
News Section at this site from entomologist Stanislav Abadjiev of the Bulgarian Academy
of Sciences in Sofia.
The site also holds brief biographies of eminent butterfly and moth
experts and a synopsis of Balkan families.
2005 -- The Knowledge Network
Ecologists coined the term "biocomplexity"
to describe broad questions such as the effect of biodiversity on
ecosystem function. The new field is the subject of these two sites.
This site is a catalog of some 1700-and-counting data sets collected by
ecologists and environmental scientists. The offerings cover everything
from bacterial abundance along the Georgia coast to the impact of gophers on plant
growth in abandoned California farm fields. Contributors include the
federal Long Term Ecological Research stations. You can access many
data sets directly; for others, the site provides contact information
for the authors. There's also free software for downloading and
analyzing data from the collection.
2005 -- The Papers of Sir
The English botanist Joseph Banks
(1743-1820) didn’t become famous overnight. He sailed with James Cook
on the British ship Endeavor's historic trip to the South Pacific and
Australia. Identification of more than 1300 new species helped elevate
him from gentleman naturalist to botanical authority. To learn more
about him, you can sift the 10,000 pages of letters, reports, maps, and
other Banks documents in this archive from the State Library of New
South Wales in Australia.
2005 -- Butterflies and
Moths of the World
keep the 110,000 known species of butterflies and moths straight is the
function of this site from the Natural History Museum in London. The known
species represent more than 31,000 published genus names. There is also
a gallery of over 400 specimens representing most of the 131 butterfly
and moth families.
2005 -- The Coat Colors of Mice
Lab mice come in
many colors including lethal yellow, black-and-tan, nonagouti sombre,
and varitint-waddler, to name a few. This site is a standard reference
on the inheritance of this characteristic, which involves more than 50
genes. Published in 1979, but out of print for years, the book is
available online at this site from the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The text is useful for
everyone from animal breeders to students studying gene interactions,
to researchers seeking background data about coat color genetics. Links
lead to gene sequence info in the lab's Mouse Genome Informatics
2005 -- Beastly Garden of
of us know that a group of lions is called a pride and that a male deer
is a buck. But what's the word for a gathering of hippos? What do you
call a young llama? You'll find the answers (and be able to impress
friends and strangers with your knowledge of animal-naming arcane) at
this site. Animal names that would stump even crossword mavens: a cete
of badgers, a murmuration of starlings, and a clowder of cats.
2005 -- Checklist of the Collembola
Collembola, a group of hardy arthropods,
are not only some of the most abundant animals, they are among the
oldest, with fossils dating back 400 million years. Springtail
systematics is the subject of this site created by Frans Janssens of
the University of Antwerp in Belgium and colleagues. The taxonomic synopsis
furnishes identification keys and distribution maps for families,
genera, and species. The site includes the catalog, a gallery, and tour
of springtail ecology and anatomy.
2005 ASBMR Bone Curriculum
The skeleton bustles
with activity. Its cells continually demolish old bone and extrude
replacement material. Students can improve their understanding of this
dynamic tissue with a primer sponsored by the American Society for Bone
and Mineral Research in Washington,
D.C. The tutorial
covers topics from basic bone structure to the impact of hormones like
testosterone and cortisol on the skeleton. Simple animations depict key
processes, such as how osteoblasts and other cells help mend a fracture
by weaving a mesh of collagen fibers that accumulates minerals. One
feature on exercise illustrates why volleyball is better for the
skeleton than hockey is (it triggers a bigger spike in bone density).
2005 -- Marine Turtle Interactive Mapping System
This site allows you
to follow the wanderings of sea turtles with a program designed to help
pinpoint feeding and nesting areas that need protection. There are more
than 30 years of records for the Indian Ocean
and western Pacific. You can create custom maps of egg-laying
localities and migration routes for six species, or click on a site or
route to get underlying data.
2005 -- Hornwort Web Portal
Hornworts don’t get a lot of attention.
They aren’t nearly as sexy as a cattleya orchid. However, they are
important in the evolutionary transition of photosynthetic organisms
from water to land and from seedless plants to seed plants.
26, 2005 -- Cold
Spring Harbor Oral History Collection
Over the years, many
of biology's top thinkers have studied, worked, or attended symposia at
the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island.
In this set of video interviews, more than 50 Cold Spring
alumni--from evolutionist extraordinaire Ernst Mayr of
Harvard to science writer Matt Ridley--reminisce about their time at
the lab and how it shaped their careers. Aspiring scientists might want
to check out the advice from seasoned researchers. For example, Mayr,
whose first language was German, hammers home the importance of honing
one's writing skills. In another set of interviews on the Human Genome
Project, scientists recall their participation in the effort and
discuss controversies such as the patenting of human DNA.
19, 2005 -- Global Biodiversity Information Facility
This site is an effort to develop a single
Web site that would unite all knowledge of the world's living things.
The site lets users simultaneously search over 1 million taxonomic
records from museum collections, botanical gardens, and global
storehouses. Whether you're curious about a mushroom, a newt, or the
bacterium, the portal provides the latest on classification and
nomenclature. Some of the 30-plus linked data sources allow you to
browse collection and observation records and use them to map species'
distributions. Others list details such as diet and size for creatures.
GBIF, a consortium of more than 30 countries, hopes that more museums
and other organizations will connect their databases.
12, 2005 -- Bryophytes
The gallery of
photos on this site from botanist Paul Davison of the University of North
Alabama in Florence captures a variety of bryophytes and highlights key
anatomical features, such as the budlike gemmae that develop into new
5, 2005 -- Ants of Costa
This site lists more than 400 species
from this ant-rich country. Along with tips on identification, creator
John Longino of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington,
put in information about each species' natural history and
distribution. The site also includes keys and discussions of
taxonomically troublesome groups.
August 29, 2005 -- Radcliffe’s Interactive Pest Management Textbook
Many farmers respond to an outbreak of
destructive pests by using pesticides. Chemical control of insects has
a health and environmental toll, so scientists have developed
alternative control strategies, called integrated pest management
(IPM). This site has more than 60 chapters on the theory and practice
of IPM, which can involve everything from introducing the pest's
natural enemies to altering harvest times to disrupt its life cycle.
22, 2005 -- Major
Histocompatibility Complex Data Base
This site from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda,
Maryland offers information for major
histocompatibility complex genes and proteins in the lab or the clinic.
It lets you compare different protein versions in 3D and browse the DNA
sequences of their genes. The site can also help users select or create
typing kits and probes to identify which MHC variants a person carries.
A new section lists the frequencies of different MHC alleles in more
than 70 populations from places such as Australia, Uganda, and Ireland.
15, 2005 -- Writings of Charles Darwin on the Web
This site houses transcripts of papers,
letters, books, and other of Darwin’s
writings. The collection includes lesser-known works such as the
unpublished 1842 and 1844 essays in which he first sketched his ideas
on evolution through natural selection. You can also read the first
edition of The Origin of Species,
which Stephen Jay Gould described as the most coherent statement of Darwin's
argument, free of the hedging of later editions. Even his quotidian
publications can provide insight into his thinking. In an 1855 Gardeners' Chronicle blurb, for instance,
he noted that some seeds could survive 6 weeks' immersion in salt
water, suggesting a way for plants to colonize remote islands without
the need for a divine landscaper.
8, 2005 -- Bryology
This site can help you get better
acquainted with this ancient group, which includes hornworts,
liverworts, and mosses. It contains information for taxonomists, and
the index of mosses describes nomenclature, distribution, and
classification. The glossary contains more than 1100 bryophyte terms.
The site also includes checklists of mosses for the world.
1, 2005 -- Ant Web
This site can help put a name to an ant.
It features an identification guide for all of the roughly 270 ant
species in California as well as some Madagascar species. The growing list of the
California Academy of Sciences also profiles all of the ant genera in
the world. Visitors can create a virtual mug book of specimens, lining
up photos of different species, genera, or families.
July 25, 2005 -- EcoEdNet
The local cemetery might not seem like an
obvious place to learn about demography, but students can gather
life-span data from tombstones and compare survival patterns in
different historical periods. Teachers looking for ideas such as this
one can check out this site from the Ecological Society of America. The
growing collection of resources includes links to useful Web sites,
background reports, fact sheets, and primers on writing papers. It also
offers lab and field experiments that provide step-by-step instructions
for everything from measuring population growth in duckweed to
comparing how birds respond to foul-tasting "insects" made of dough and
their tasty look-alikes. Entry requires free registration, and visitors
can contribute their own labs or other activities.
July 18, 2005 -- SARS Reference
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
has entered the textbooks. Scientists described the virus responsible
for the lethal lung infection in March 2003, a little more than a month
after the disease came to the attention of the international health
community, and this free online SARS text is already in its third
edition. Edited by infectious-disease specialists Bernd Sebastian Kamps
and Christian Hoffmann, it presents information in 10 chapters from
five contributors in Hong Kong and Germany. A timeline summarizes the race to
identify the virus and quell the pandemic that began in southern China. Find out what we know about the habits
of the SARS coronavirus, and how it spreads. Readers can download
versions of the book in six languages.
11, 2005 -- National GeoChemical Survey
Find phosphorus concentrations in east Texas streams or sodium levels in swamps near Miami by looking on this site, a new database
from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The collection has measurements
of more than 60 elements at sites around the country. Such data can
help environmental science and biology students looking at pollution
from farms and sewage plants that spur algal blooms. The database
will eventually hold at least one sample for every 289 square
kilometers (an area about two-thirds the size of Washington,
D.C.). Most of the data come from streambed
sediments, which can reflect even lower levels in soils because they
receive runoff from a wide area. A set of maps highlights regional and
national trends. You can also obtain county averages or download
figures for each sampling site. USGS plans to complete the survey by
July 4, 2005 -- Virtual Classroom Biology
Students get the chance to use a virtual
electron microscope at this site. The simulator mimics controls on a
field-emission scanning electron microscope, allowing users to zoom in
on flea's stabbing mouthparts, for example, and probe the anatomy of a
leaf's surface. The microscope activities have chapters that explore
the plumbing system of plants, flower development, the structure and
growth of hair, and other topics. Teachers will find a gallery with
more than 500 photos, animations, and video clips.
DNA - it's not just for molecular
biologists anymore. The double helix can help free the wrongfully
convicted, trace the wanderings of species, and clarify our
evolutionary kinship with the apes. Hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory in New York, DNA Interactive is a snazzy primer on
the structure, function, and uses of DNA designed for high school and
lower-level college students. The site uses many graphics to draw
students in. The timeline of key discoveries, for example, features
biographies of DNA scientists with animations and video interviews. The
applications section explores topics such as how understanding cell
division helped researchers design the antileukemia drug Gleevec.
Students can also learn how DNA testing clarified the fate of Tsar
Nicholas II of Russia and his family, who were executed by a
Bolshevik firing squad in 1918. In the 1990s, DNA fingerprinting
debunked a woman's claim to be Anastasia, the tsar's youngest daughter,
and established that bones discovered in Siberia belonged to members of the family.
27, 2005 -- D.N.A. Interactive
20, 2005 -- John Day's Inordinate Fondness for Orchids
For the Victorians, who ardently collected
everything from conch shells to colonies, orchids were among the most
coveted prizes. Grower and artist John Day (1824-88) sketched or painted about 3000
of the ornate flowers, often providing the world with its first glimpse
of new specimens. You can browse highlights of Day's scrapbooks at this
exhibit from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew,
U.K. The exhibit features more than 70 of
Day's best paintings of plants growing in his own collection or shipped
to England from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
13, 2005 -- Human Embryo Animations
Students can follow the twists and turns
of circulatory system development with this set of animations from
anatomist Valerie O'Loughlin of IndianaUniversity, 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 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 others on the formation of the
digestive system and the limbs.
2005 -- The International HapMap Project
A project to map how
humankind varies genetically has unveiled its Web site, along with a
first batch of data. The International HapMap Project is making a
"haplotype map" of common patterns of variation by examining mutations
in the DNA of 270 people of European, Nigerian, Japanese, and Chinese
descent. The public data should be a boon to researchers looking for
genes that make people susceptible to disease or side effects from
drugs. The HapMap Project has released over 13 million genotypes from
145,554 mutations, known as SNPs. You can browse alleles
for mutation frequencies, or get genotype data for individuals by
registering and agreeing to conditions, such as not patenting the data.
The site will soon add material to explain the HapMap to the public.
A century from now,
experts studying tree rings from southern California
forests might see traces of 2003's blazes around Los
Angeles and San
Diego. You can find out when and where past
wildfires burned the landscape from this new archive hosted by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Based on tree rings
and soil charcoal in samples up to 900 years old, the records provide
fire history for some 150 locales in North America.
The site is designed to explore how fires shape ecosystems and how to
predict future fires.
May 30, 2005 -- International Multiproxy Paelofire Database
2005 -- The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin
Few scientists ever
enjoy as fruitful a 5 years as Frederick Banting, J. J. R. Macleod,
James Collip, and Charles Best. In 1921 and 1922, the researchers
isolated insulin and demonstrated its power to ameliorate diabetes. By
1926, doctors around the world were treating patients with the hormone.
Delve into the discovery and early use of insulin at this site from the
of Toronto, where
the researchers performed much of the work. You can browse some 7000
documents, including the investigators' letters, notebook pages,
landmark papers on insulin, and photos. The site also offers a
timeline, biographies of the scientists, and writings from grateful
early patients. Insulin's history has its sour moments, as newspaper
clippings on the site reveal. The Nobel committee awarded the 1923
prize for physiology or medicine to Macleod and Banting, snubbing Best
and Collip and fomenting a brouhaha over credit that continues today.
However, the winners shared the prize money with their overlooked
2005 -- Live Science
From Imaginova Corporation, this Web site provides news
on current science topics and science news. The information
is presented in an easy to read interesting format.
2, 2005 -- GeneTests
The National Institutes of Health
provides this site with a wealth of data on various genetic diseases.
April 25, 2005 -- GeoMac
keep tabs on recent forest fires, you can use this fire-mapping tool
sponsored by a federal consortium. The site pinpoints U.S.
wildfires using satellite data and on-the-ground reports. You can
delineate the boundaries of large blazes, such as the recent Cedar fire
near San Diego,
or display a chronology of the amount of area burned.
April 18, 2005 -- The Biology Project
students struggling to understand the inheritance of sex-linked traits
or instructors looking for an engaging activity for teaching DNA
structure can find help at this site from the University
of Arizona, Tucson. The Web
tutorial hits the essentials of biology, including biochemistry, cell
biology, development, immunology, and genetics. Flexible lessons let
students check their understanding with preliminary quizzes, then focus
their efforts on the topics they don't understand. Interactive
investigations highlight real-world issues. For instance, students
model the spread of HIV with a simple computer simulation and perform a
virtual pathology exam on lung tissue from mice exposed to cigarette
April 11, 2005 -- Plants of Hawaii
a long time cut off from the rest of the world worked wonders for
biological diversity in places like Hawaii. This new photo gallery shows
many of the unique plant species that evolved during the island chain's
millions of years of isolation. The site, which contains photos of more
than 900 species, is an outgrowth of the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk
project. The gallery also captures many of Hawaii's introduced plant species.
You can track the spread of some invaders such as cat's claw, a spiky
vine, using downloadable reports and range maps based on recent
April 4, 2005 -- Singing Insects
of North America
Listen to a pine katydid (Hubbellia
marginifera) or other musical insects that fill the air on summer
evenings at this site, a guide to crickets, katydids, and cicadas
orchestrated by entomologists Thomas Walker of the University of Florida,
Gainesville, and Thomas Moore of
the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The site offers
information on more than 100 insects. To help you pin a name to that
hard-to-place specimen, compare its features to the multiple keys.
Species accounts not only let you sample the insect's repertoire, but
also include photos, sketches of anatomical characteristics, range
maps, and details of habits and habitat.
March 28, 2005 -- National Water Quality
The latest feature at the U.S. Geological
Survey clearinghouse on water quality is data collected between 1993
and 2002 on the abundances of different fish species in nearly 1000
streams. You can use the collection to study aquatic communities and
look for trends. To investigate the biological effects of pollution you
can also tap into data on the concentrations of contaminants such as
metals and pesticides in tissues of water-dwelling creatures.
March 21, 2005 -- Biflora
an estimated 13,500 plant species, but the unique plants of this
biodiversity hot spot are under pressure from a sprawling human
population, deforestation, and invasive weeds. This new taxonomic
database sponsored by Bicoll Biotechnology of Shanghai and the German Investment
and Development Company (DEG), documents the island's little-known and
March 14, 2005 -- Universal Chalcidoids
only 1.5 millimeters in length, chalcidoid wasps seem like they could
be bullied by a mosquito. But the wasps, which include the world's
smallest insect, parasitize many larger insects, making them valuable
for biocontrol. London's
Natural History Museum offers updated taxonomic information for these
wasps. Listings record data such as where each species lives, what
hosts it victimizes, and its economic importance. You can view
descriptions and keys for the world's families or study anatomical
diagrams and images. The database also provides tips on how to collect,
preserve, and ship the minute wasps.
March 7, 2005 -- American Phytopathological Society
diseases such as citrus canker and tomato early blight cost farmers and
growers billions of dollars a year. Students can learn more about plant
diseases and pathology at this site from the American Phytopathological
Society in St. Paul,
will find lessons geared for K-12 students and introductory and
advanced college levels. Tutorials delve into the causes and symptoms
of more than 30 colorfully named plant ailments, from blackleg to
stinking smut to apple scab, an attack by the fungus Venturia
inaequalis. Brief articles explore topics such as how sequencing
the Caenorhabditis elegans worm's genome could benefit
plant pathology. All three levels also supply lab exercises,
illustrated glossaries, and other handy resources.
February 28, 2005 -- Cancer.gov
More Americans are surviving breast, prostate, lung, and
colon cancer, but a steady decline in overall cancer death and
incidence rates leveled off in the 1990s, according to the latest
status report from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other
organizations. Explore these and other cancer stats at SEER, an
epidemiology storehouse from NCI. SEER, which stands for Surveillance,
Epidemiology, and End Results program, began collecting cancer
information in 1973 and now has data from more than a dozen state and
local cancer registries, covering about 26% of the U.S. population. The site
offers two kinds of statistics. For an overview of cancer trends, try
the Fast Stats feature, which furnishes measures such as incidence and
mortality for more than 30 cancer types.
February 21,2005 -- GOBASE
Inside a eukaryotic cell, mitochondria
and chloroplasts perform the jobs of releasing energy from food and
capturing sunlight. These organelles have their own DNA. This
collection of chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes sponsored by the
University of Montreal in Canada, supplies information for those
probing everything from the evolution of these partnerships to the
interplay between mitochondrial and nuclear genes. You can also
discover the functions of organelle proteins and uncover gene maps and
diagrams of RNA structures for some species.
February 14, 2005 -- Mycorrhiza
plant species get by with a little help from some friends. Fungi called
mycorrhizae swap minerals that they get from the soil for food from the
plant. Those studying this symbiotically mutual relationship can find
an abundance of useful information at this community site from the University of Tennessee,
Listings highlight new literature, texts, book reviews, and journals.
February 7, 2005 -- Environmental
Treaties and Wildlife Indicators
which agreement governs air pollution crossing the U.S.-Canada border?
This site at Columbia
Center for International Earth Science Information Network has a
database of environmental treaties, from the Convention on Long-Range
Transboundary Air Pollution to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental
Protection. You can peruse the texts of treaties and find out which
countries have signed or ratified them.
January 31, 2005 -- Nature Audit
This site from World Wildlife Fund Canada allows study of the threats facing
North American ecosystems and what treaties are meant to protect nature
worldwide at this pair of environmental sites. It takes a broad view of
conservation. The site divides Canada and the northern United States into 40
aquatic and terrestrial "conservation planning regions" that not only share
similar ecology but also face similar types of human development and
activities, such as mining, oil drilling, deforestation, and invasive
species. Click on an interactive map to summon a description of each region
and its conservation imperatives.
January 24, 2005 -- The DataWeb
17, 2005 -- coliBASE
This site provides access to economic, health, and demographic databases
from the U.S. government and private organizations. The portal comes from
two of the government's avid data collectors: the Census Bureau and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The offerings cover topics
as diverse as attitudes toward AIDS and family income. Scientific and
medical researchers can glean statistics on U.S. births and mortality, rates
of reportable diseases, and eating habits from sources such as CDC's
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. To burrow into the data,
you need to download a free program called the DataFerrett.
Find out what makes food
poisoning microbes tick with this database
University of Birmingham, U.K.
Researchers can use it to analyze and
the genomes of three strains of
Salmonella, one of Shigella, and five of
Escherichia coli, including the
deadly O157:H7 variety. Linked
you parse the genes of
different species and strains of Clostridium,
cause diseases such as botulism
and tetanus, and the gut-wrenching
January 10, 2005 -- Online
Data Reports on Acid Rain, Atmospheric Deposition and Precipitation Chemistry
January 3, 2005 -- Evolutionary
Although laws such as the 1990 Clean Air Act have reduced air pollution,
acid rain remains a threat to lakes and forests in the United States and
Canada. Packed with data and reports, this site sponsored by the U.S.
Geological Survey can answer questions about acid rain, which is caused
mainly by sulfur- and nitrogen-containing emissions from vehicles and
that burn fossil fuels. A linked database allows researchers to download
weekly, monthly, and yearly figures for precipitation chemistry from 250
monitoring stations around the U.S. Some stations' records stretch back
far as 1978. The site also offers reports and conference proceedings,
links to maps that illustrate trends in precipitation pH.
Evolutionary biologists and
population geneticists have a tool to help
tackle such problems as
measuring the speed of viral evolution and
determining when the common
ancestor of a group of organisms lived.
Answering these questions
requires that researchers draw a phylogenetic
tree, usually from gene
sequence data, but uncertainty over which
branches is correct can confuse
the analysis. Rather than relying on
single tree, a program called
BEAST uses a statistical technique called
Bayesian analysis to provide
answers by averaging over all plausible
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