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Jan 01, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 1)


  • Easy-to-navigate chromosomes to browse sequences
  • The navigation bar varies, making for some cumbersome site-surfing

Alas, a researcher’s work is never done. Take, for instance, the sequencing of entire genomes. Yes, it’s a victory in and of itself, but there is so much more to do afterwards in terms of annotation! Thankfully there are research groups dedicated to the task, such as the HAVANA group at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute. After hours upon hours of labor, the HAVANA researchers have created the Vertebrate Genome Annotation (VEGA), a repository for “high quality manual annotation of vertebrate finished genome sequence.” The represented species are: human, mouse, zebrafish, gorilla, pig, dog, and (don’t ask me why) wallaby. One can browse the annotations by chromosome, or one can search by gene name. There is also a “comparative analysis” feature that provides pairwise alignment for specific genomic regions between species. If users wish to manage personal datasets, they can register for an account.

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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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