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

Model Organisms for Biomedical Research

  • Clarity of information, links to other resources
  • Some organisms don't have much information
What do a frog, a filamentous fungus, and a water flea have in common? They are all model organisms for biomedical research. This aptly named site through the NIH brings all model organisms into the spotlight—so move over, mouse and zebrafish! The website profiles 13 model organisms, explaining why each has been used in biomedical research, and in what capacity. (Who knew that the water flea has been the star of biological investigations for over a century?) For many of the organisms, there are additional links to sequence databases and other species-specific resources. The only “work in progress” organism appears to be budding yeast, for which there is not yet any information listed. Aside from that, though, the site seems to have model organisms covered, from Arabidopsis to zebrafish.
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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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