web resources

BLAST is a collection of programs that are used to compare sequences (DNA, RNA, or protein) to larger collections of sequences that are stored in databases. I've used BLAST as a teaching tool for many years, partly because it's become a standard tool for biological work and partly because it's very good at illustrating evolutionary relationships on a molecular level. A few months ago, the NCBI changed the web interface for doing BLAST searches at their site. I ... Read more
By now, many of you have probably seen the the new BLAST web interface at the NCBI. There are many good things that I can say about it, but there are a few others that caught me by surprise during my last couple of classes.

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Because of these changes, and because I'm giving a workshop for teachers on BLAST at the Fralin Biotechnology Conference in Blacksburg, VA, next week, it seemed like a good time to update our animated ... Read more

What do people in biotechnology do on the job?

What can students do with a science degree once they've finished college? Some answers can be found at the "Life Sciences Central web site. Created by the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, this is a wonderful resource for anyone who's considering biotechnology for a potential career.

My favorite part of the site is the series of short video interviews from people in the biotech industry, describing what they do on the job and how they got there.

... Read more

i-6d3784373c1ae06545f859a0aec5dcd9-dnai.gifIf we asked any biologist to pick the five most important techniques in biology, that list would certainly include PCR. 

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. It's used everywhere. We use it to amplify DNA for cloning, we use it for diagnostic tests, ... Read more

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I meant for this to be a three part series, but in part II, I learned that one more experiment had to be done. I had to know if the articles I found in PubMed Central were the same articles that I found in PubMed. Part I and part III cover the background and ... Read more

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This is the third, and last part in a three part series on finding free scientific papers. You can read the first part here: Part I: A day in the life of an English physician and the second part, where I compare different methods, here. Today, I will show you how to use my new favorite method.

How to find free scientific publications ... Read more

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This is the second part in a three part series on finding free scientific papers. You can read the first part here: Part I: A day in the life of an English physician Today, we do an experiment with PubMed and PubMed Central to determine the best way to search for free articles. The biggest problem that our doctor friend, from part I, faced, wasn ... Read more

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This three part series covers the problem of finding scientific articles, compares results from a few different methods, and presents instructions for the best method. A day in the life of an English physician In April, I had the great fortune to attend (and speak at) a conference on scientific publishing sponsored by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. One of the first speakers was an English physician who described his trials and a typical ordeal in trying to use the medical literature. ... Read more
I found it in the MeSH database. Really! Looking for a quick answer? Don't ask a scientist It doesn't take long to realize that scientists can spend countless hours debating the meaning of words. Our very own ScienceBlogs is a great example, just look at the many ways we can define (and debate) the meaning of a small, four-letter word like "gene". We also like to qualify our answers with a thousand conditions "usually, it's like this, but...." This ... Read more
I read about this in Science and immediately had to check it out. Instant gratification on the internet is such a wonderful thing! The Ed Kravitz lab has made movies of fights and even put them on the web for your viewing pleasure. You can see the following fly fights that might suit your fancy: Fighting flies

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