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Dec 01, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 21)

Welcome to Flavivirus!!!

URL:www.stanford.edu/group/virus/1999/asb-flavi/flavivirus.htm
  • Informative
  • Needs more breadth
You’d think from the multiexclamation point title that flaviviruses were something to be happy about. Sadly, that is not the case. Responsible for major human diseases like yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, and hepatitis C, the flaviviruses are a serious group of pathogens. As pointed out on the site, flaviviruses contain a single, linear, positive sense RNA with sizes of about 10–11 kilobases (the site incorrectly identifies them as kilobase pairs). All flaviviruses are transmitted by arthropods, except hepatitis C, which is spread through contaminated body fluids. The site, which was created for a class at Stanford by Robert Siegel, is notable for a simple design but has suffered a bit by sacrificing breadth for simplicity. The pages, nevertheless, are informative reads.
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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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