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Jun 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 12)

Data Portal of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility

  • Nice site design, good tutorials
  • Nothing major

Whether you’re looking for information about the desert kangaroo rat, wishing to enquire about seasonal distributions for barn swallows, or are longing to learn more about Ecuadorian plants, the Data Portal of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) can help you out. The Data Portal was created to make the world’s biodiversity data globally accessible. The nicely designed site is largely organized by three options of exploration: visitor can explore by species, by countries, or by datasets. The homepage provides a brief description of what can be found under each of these headings. (The species pages, for instance, contain species occurrence records, classifications, and scientific/common names.) In addition to its inviting site design, the website also includes an online tutorial to ensure that visitors get the most out of the Data Portal.

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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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