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


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Back in my day, we had junk DNA and we had junk RNA. The latter were itty-bitty RNAs thought not to do much, but now it turns out they do a lot. Knowing my luck, junk DNA will have a similar outcome. Life was simpler then. MicroRNAs, it appears today, are involved in gene regulation. miRBase is a database spanning the range of these interesting molecules. The opening page of the site provides an interface that couldn’t be made much simpler. It has three selectable options—sequences (a list of all published sequences), targets (a list of target genes), and registry (a confidential service to assign names for novel miRNA genes prior to publication). Access to information is similar, and the information is useful. It doesn’t get much better than that.
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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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