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Aug 01, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 14)

Innate Immunity

  • Well organized information
  • Could be better explained
How do we vary from one person to another? If you’re thinking “well d-uh, in our DNA” you’d be right in your answer and wrong in your attitude. Exactly how small sequence variations from one person to another manifest themselves is no simple topic. Fortunately, there are many researchers interested in this and working on the problem. Simple variations from one person to another are known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and comprise a good deal of human variation. The Innate Immunity site describes research projects at the University of Arizona, BYU, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Visitors can scan through the genes being studied and click on the names to obtain more information. Over 80 genes are available, with several in progress and a boatload of information available for each. One complaint, though—access to software tools requires registration.
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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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