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Aug 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 14)

Defensins Knowledgebase

  • Easily searchable database, nice supplemental resources
  • New articles not entirely up-to-date, the page layout is cumbersome

Scientists have a knack for creating self-explanatory names for things, and the defensins are no exception. It doesn’t take an immunologist to guess that this family of peptides does something to protect us, and indeed they do. Defensins are antimicrobial peptides that are found in a wide variety of organ-isms (including us), and now, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Bioinformatics Institute of Singapore and the Singapore Eye Research Institute, there is an online database dedicated to these brave warriors. The introduction page provides clear instructions on how to search the database, and the site also provides links to defensin literature and news stories. My only complaint about the site is its cumbersome layout—I’ve never been much of a fan of the scrolling-page-within-scrolling-page website design.

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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.

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