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Jan 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 2)


  • Nice "how to" section, easy to use
  • Only four viruses represented on the site

What’s the best way to get a virus to shut up? Well, to silence it, of course! And I think that siRNA (“small interfering” or “silencing” RNAs) will do just the trick. Lucky for researchers, the siVirus website provides the tools to achieve efficient antiviral siRNA design for HIV-1, HCV, SARS, influenza, and (coming soon) HBV. The “about siVirus” link takes you to the page that tells you everything you need to know about using the website. The basic procedure is: 1) select sequences for conservation analysis, 2) specify regions of interest, and 3) click “submit” to design the siRNAs. It is unfortunate that there are so few viruses represented on the site, as it limits the utility of the design tools to a select group of virologists,but for members of that group, it is definitely a resource worth utilizing.

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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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