January 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 1)


Strong Points: Very thorough, well organized
Weak Points: None

Well, like it or not, it is that time of year again. My arm is just now getting over its soreness from my flu shot from last week. With the many other problems in the world, the potential flu epidemic has sort of dropped off the radar screens of many of us. It is therefore timely that we take a look at the useful and informative Influenza Virus Resource, hosted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The site is packed with flu-related info. Perhaps the best evidence of our growing interest in these viruses is the plot showing the growth in the number of flu sequences deposited in Genbank—seven-fold growth in the past six years and 25,000 sequences alone since January 2005. Probably the best offerings of the site are the sequences, the database search tools, the phylogenetic trees, and the access to information on protein structure. This is a site that takes no prisoners, and since it covers a virus with tremendous potential danger, that’s what I want.

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