The Internet for Molecular Biologists: A Practical Approach

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The last few decades of the twentieth century will be remembered for two technological revolutions that have already had a profound effect on millions of people's lives. Thanks to communication technologies, and particularly the Internet, we now take immediate access to enormous quantities of information for granted. And thanks to "the new biology," building on the genome projects, some scientists are predicting that cures for the majority of known diseases could be readily available within two generations. ...
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Overview


The last few decades of the twentieth century will be remembered for two technological revolutions that have already had a profound effect on millions of people's lives. Thanks to communication technologies, and particularly the Internet, we now take immediate access to enormous quantities of information for granted. And thanks to "the new biology," building on the genome projects, some scientists are predicting that cures for the majority of known diseases could be readily available within two generations. These two revolutions are inextricably linked: molecular biology depends on the ready availability of data, and that needs computers and the Internet. There are some surprising parallels between developments in the two technologies. For example, the publicly available gene sequence databases, EMBL and GenBank, are doubling in size approximately every eighteen months. According to Moore's Law, which has held since the invention of the silicon chip, eighteen months is also the time frame in which computer power is expected to double.
This book aims to help the practitioners of the second revolution - molecular biologists who are more at home at a laboratory bench than in front of a computer keyboard - to use the technology of the first, the Internet, more effectively. The Internet For Molecular Biologists - A Practical Approach provides a broad introduction to using Internet based computing resources to support research in molecular biology. After surveying the core databases and other online resources, the focus shifts to tools and techniques for exploiting and authoring Internet-distributed information. Later chapters provide detailed examples of how technologies such as molecular visualisation, VRML and XSLT can be applied to biological problems.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD(Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This general introduction to Internet tools available for the biologist includes general and specific applications.
Purpose: The goal of this book is to provide the biological researcher with the tools needed to access the various databases, including the scientific literature. Given the explosion of information, this is a worthy objective. The objectives are generally met.
Audience: The intended audience is broad — graduate students, research fellows, and senior investigators. All can profit. The editors have selected an experienced author group.
Features: Given that preschoolers of today are likely to be computer literate, it is appropriate that all investigators be familiar with Internet-based tools associated with their area of work. This book provides a series of articles aimed at a broad coverage of internet applications useful to biologists. The introductory section reviews the various databases (protein, DNA) and their use; the human genome sequence is covered separately. A series of chapters follows with discussions of specific applications (e.g. agriculture). A useful section describes means for optimizing Internet-based collaborations and for establishing a Web site. The book ends with reviews of 3-D visualizations and virtual reality (significant application here to teaching some topics). Given the extraordinary growth of this type of material and the near universal use of the Internet, this is a welcome and useful book. Investigators with rather limited experience in this area will find much new material; those who consider themselves fluent users will still find nuggets of value. Graduate students will appreciate both content and instructional examples.
Assessment: There are several books of this general type. Some provide problems ("weblems") and clearly are intended as textbooks. The breadth of this offering is good and the text clear. A valuable addition in a busy field.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199638871
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Series: Practical Approach Series , #269
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Birkbeck College, London

Attotron Biosensor Corporation, Carson City, Nevada

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Table of Contents

List of protocols
Abbreviations
List of contributors
Bibliographic databases 1
Sequence databases and analysis sites 17
Medical genetics resources in the genomic era 39
Agricultural biotechnology 57
Inference and applications of molecular phylogenies : an introductory guide 73
Internet tools for cell and developmental biologists 87
Internet collaboration 103
Laboratory websites : how to disseminate information, make friends, and influence people 135
Introduction to macromolecular visualization 161
Virtual reality for biologists 191
Web scripting for molecular biologists : an introduction to Perl and XML 207
Index 239
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