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Jun 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 11)

The TIGR Reptile Database

URL:www.reptile-database.org
  • Good organization, very expansive database
  • Lack of content in some areas

Earless monitors and two-legged worm lizards—these creatures might have leapt straight from the pages of a fantasy novel. Yet, these very real critters are among the 8,863 reptilian species contained within the TIGR Reptile Database, operated through the J. Craig Venter Institute. The site provides ample classification information, so anybody can get a phylogenic fix. The next time you and your friends play six degrees of serpentine separation, you’ll be ready. In addition to providing taxa relationships, the database also offers information about the various species, including habitat, physical characteristics, and reproduction. Definitely geared toward those with an academic interest in reptiles, there is, however, a link titled “reptiles as pets.” Don’t look here to buy your next scaly companion, though. The website’s message to potential pet owners: don’t do it.

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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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