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Dec 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 21)

Rediscovering Biology

URL:www.learner.org/courses/biology
  • Free, downloadable resources for a broad audience
  • None

If you have ever bought a textbook, you will understand my excitement at stumbling upon a wonderful (free!) online textbook. That was my exact sentiment when I came across the website for Rediscovering Biology. The website is actually a companion site for a video series targeted toward high school biology teachers, but the resources on the website are applicable to a much broader audience. The downloadable textbook, for instance, provides an excellent introduction to topics such as genomics, microbial diversity, neurobiology, and genetically modified organisms. In addition to the textbook, there are also worksheets that (even in the absence of the videos) provide good questions to test one’s understanding of various biological concepts. The site also includes a few case-study examples, as well as transcripts of interviews with professionals in the various fields. This is a wonderful resource for high school and college educators, as well as anyone seeking an introduction to germane molecular techniques and topics in biology today.

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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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