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May 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 10)

Learn.Genetics

URL:learn.genetics.utah.edu
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The straightforward title of this page belies the fact that this site is anything but a boring, straightforward page on genetics. Also, genetics in this case refers to much more than just DNA and gene expression. Addiction and cell function are also addressed, as are drug interactions in the “mouse party” feature. In this interactive animation, the molecular mechanisms behind various drugs are introduced by looking into the brains of dancing mice who have been partying a bit too hard. (Look, you’re going to just have to experience it yourself.) The virtual labs are not only entertaining (everyone loves pipetting virtual solutions and moving tubes from the centrifuge to the water bath), they are also extremely informative to the beginning molecular biologist. Even senior scientists will enjoy this playful site, which reminds us just how much fun science can be!
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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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