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May 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 9)


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For all of the acronyms, made-up names, and nomenclature I have encountered in science, I can’t remember the last time I came across a name so visually succinct as BioTapestry. The many (many, MANY) genetic interactions within organisms are very much akin to threads that are elegantly woven to form intricate tapestries. And thus, there seems to be no name more befitting an interactive tool to visualize those genetic interactions. BioTapestry, developed by researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology and the California Institute of Technology, is not merely a tool to visualize what is already known. It is also a tool to build and simulate proposed models of genetic regulatory networks. The quick-start tutorial will teach you what you need to know, and then you too can start weaving together the genetic strands of life.

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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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