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Dec 01, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 21)

3D Cell Stain (Molecular Probes)

  • Can visualize structures in an actual cell
  • Too many product plugs
Platform: iPad  
Cost: Free

This app consists of two features: an interactive (rotatable and zoomable) animated 3-D cell, as well as an interface to apply cell structure-specific stains to an image of an actual cell. The animated 3-D cell is neat to play with, and users can click on each structure for a brief description of it. The cell-staining feature is unique in that it allows users to visualize actual stains on a real cell (as opposed to animated depictions). That said, this app is very clearly commercial in intent, and users cannot avoid product listings in either section of the app. Due to its unique features and educational value, I do think it is a worthwhile resource, though I certainly do wish that the overt commercial aspects (such as the “add to cart” feature) were removed.

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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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