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Mar 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 6)


  • Useful information
  • Difficult access to info
The name of this site caught my eye first. Sounding like the name of a cheap science fiction monster, FUGOID is actually an acronym for Function Genomics of Organellar Introns Database. Jeez—reality is almost always more boring than one’s imagination. That’s not to say, however, that the site is not useful. Indeed, introns in organelle genomes are of considerable interest for their ability to self splice. Add to that their ability to act as mobile genetic elements, and you have a lively set of jumping genes. The database allows users numerous search options, including by reference and by intron information. The latter includes over 15 specifiable criteria, including gene name, sequence, size, genome, mitochondria/chloroplast, and more. With so many options, I expected a truly enormous database, but in reality, there appeared to be just over 400 entries. Worse, access to the info was kind of clunky—one has to follow specific instructions for entering text into the search boxes. This number of entries could easily be presented in a list and this option should be considered by the site’s designers.
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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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