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Feb 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 4)

Digital Morphology at the University of Texas

  • High quality images
  • Too little user control
Funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted at the University of Texas, Digital Morphology is a “dynamic archive of information on digital morphology and high-resolution X-ray computed tomography of biological specimens.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. The opening page gives a hint to the contents inside, with high-resolution images of a suckermouth, a cormorant, a kingsnake, and an orangutan. Clicking on an image brings up a page with links to numbered videos showing various rotations of the structure, as well as slices through the organism. The quality is outstanding, but I’m disappointed at the lack of ability for users to manipulate the images (for example, rotating them to a desired angle and freezing them at that angle). Granted, the movies provide virtually every conceivable angle, but user controls are essential for future versions.
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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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