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Aug 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 14)

The C.V.Starr Virtual Herbarium

  • A large number of catalogs, diverse speimen data
  • Difficult to browse collections, cannot search for specific types of data

The warm summer weather invites us to go outdoors where one can spend hours admiring blooming flowers and trees in the park. But, if allergies keep you homebound, you can spend your time perusing the pollen-free plants of the New York Botanical Garden’s C.V. Starr Virtual Herbarium. Geared toward researchers, as opposed to people who simply enjoy looking at photos of pretty plants, the Virtual Herbarium contains a large collection of specimen data for scientific use. Organized into various specimen catalogs, data contained with the Virtual Herbarium includes geographical information, specimen and habitat description, and images, among other things. There are many different databases and links to explore, though a word of warning: some pages contain much more information than others. Also, it is a bit frustrating if you are an “I just want to browse the database” type of person, as the “search” feature is the only option in many cases.

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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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