Genetics, Biotechnology, and Developmental Biology
Genetics, Biotechnology, and Developmental Biology
Genetics is "the branch of biology concerned with the study of heredity and variation". Biotechnology is "the development of techniques for the application of biological processes to the production of materials of use in medicine and industry." Development is "the complex process of growth and maturation that occurs in living organisms". (Oxford Dictionary of Biology, 4th ed., 2000). The more applied aspects of biotechnology and genetics such as plant or animal breeding and industrial biotechnology are not included. All of the subjects covered in this chapter overlap with other chapters. For instance, molecular biologists study DNA while geneticists study genes so Molecular and Cellular Biology should also be checked for information sources. Research in development may be done by geneticists, cell biologists, or physiologists, so other related resources are found in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Anatomy and Physiology.
- American Genetic Association (AGA).
Founded in 1903, 750 members. Emphasis on applied areas. Publishes Journal of Heredity. Formerly American Breeders Association.
- American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG).
Founded in 1948, 6,361members in 1999. Physicians, genetic counselors, researchers interested in human genetics. Publishes American Journal of Human Genetics. Web site primarily for society information.
- British Society for Developmental Biology.
Aims "to represent developmental biology to external organizations in the UK and Europe." Organizes meetings and publishes newsletter.
- European Society of Human Genetics.
Founded 1967. "Promotes research in basic and applied human and medical genetics and facilitates contact between all persons who share these aims." Publishes European Journal of Human Genetics.
- The Genetics Society.
Founded in 1919. Approximately 2000 members. The "world's first society devoted to the study of mechanisms of inheritance." For all active geneticists in the U.K. interested in research or teaching. Publishes Heredity and Genes and Development.
- Genetics Society of America (GSA).
Founded in 1931, 4,100 members. All areas of genetics. Publishes Genetics. Awards GSA medal and Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal. Annual conference. Web site primarily for society information.
- Genetics Society of Canada, La Societe de Genetique du Canada, now part of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences.
Society for professional geneticists in Canada. Publishes quarterly Bulletin and acts with the National Research Council to publish Genome. Holds annual meeting.
- International Society of Developmental Biologists (ISDB).
Founded 1911. 900 members, both individual and corporate. Scientists from 31 countries. Promotes the study of developmental biology by encouraging research and communication in the field. Organizes conferences and workshops. Absorbed the Developmental Biology Section, International Union of Biological Sciences. Publishes Mechanisms of Development and Developmental Biology and Teratology. Web site hosted by Elsevier, primarily for membership information. Formerly called the International Institute of Embryology.
- Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists (JSDB).
Founded in 1968. 1,300 members. Professional society for developmental biologists, researchers and educators. Publishes Development, Growth and Differentiation. Web site primarily for membership information.
- Society for Developmental Biology (SDB).
Founded 1939. 2,100 members. Professional society of biologists interested in problems of development and growth of organisms. Publishes Developmental Biology. Web site contains membership information and conference information, links to developmental biology sites, and the "Developmental Biology Cinema", which links to several online video sequences of developing organisms. Formerly Society for the Study of Development and Growth.
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See also the sequence databases listed in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the Guides to the Internet in both this section and Molecular and Cellular Biology.
- Caenorhabditis elegans WWW Server
Provides access to all the most important information on the Web for researchers who study this roundworm, a model organism for developmental genetics. This website provides access to WormBase, a "repository of mapping, sequencing and phenotypic information, information about labs and announcements of conferences, and the electronic Worm Breeder's Gazette.
"FlyBase is a comprehensive database for information on the genetics and molecular biology of Drosophila. It includes data from the Drosophila Genome Projects and data curated from the literature. FlyBase is a joint project with the Berkeley and European Drosophila Genome Projects." Includes a tremendous amount of information, such as a bibliography of Drosophila citations, a directory of researchers, descriptions of chromosomal aberrations, lists of Drosophila stocks, genome project data, Drosophila images, and much more.
An image database of Drosophila developmental genetics including gene expression patterns in mutants, wild-type, and enhancer-trap lines. Text descriptions of the images allow searching.
- GenBank. 1982- . Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information.
NIH's "annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences". Contained over 7 million sequence records from 47,000 species in June 2000.
- The Mouse Atlas and Gene Expression Database. Copyright 1994- 1998. The Medical Research Council and the University of Edinburgh, U.K. Also available on CD-ROM for $48.00 (see Web site).
An ongoing project to eventually become a complete source for 3D image information on morphology, gene expression, and mutant phenotypes in mouse development. It currently provides a controlled anatomical vocabulary for each stage of development and the initial series of digital 3D embryos. The vocabulary is linked to the images so that queries of the database can be performed. This resource will allow developmental geneticists to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources. On the Web for free, but the CD-ROM will probably work faster.
- Mouse Genome Informatics. Copyright 2000, the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME.
Maintained by the Jackson Laboratory , a major mouse mutant repository and center for mouse research, this site "provides integrated access to data on the genetics, genomics and biology of the laboratory mouse" including genetic maps, phenotypes, gene expression data, and sequence information. Includes the Mouse Genome Database, the Gene Expression Database and the Mouse Genome Sequence projects.
- TBASE (The Transgenic/Targeted Mutation Database). Maintained by the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME.
Attempts to organize all the information about transgenic animals and targeted mutation lines generated worldwide. One can search by species, technique, DNA construct, phenotype, lab, etc., and also submit information on a new mutant line. Selected data from TBASE is highlighted every few months in Trends in Genetics. The "Knockout Model of the Month" features an especially interesting new animal model, and a useful glossary of terms is included. (Update: This resource is no longer available online.)
- Xenbase: A Xenopus Web Resource
A "database of information pertaining to the cell and developmental biology of the frog, Xenopus". Also contains genetic and genomic information, as well as directories, methods, links to databases and electronic journals, announcements of conferences and more.
- The Zebrafish Information Network Database. Eugene, OR: Zebrafish International Resource Center.
Provides access to a wealth of information for researchers on this fish which is a major model organism for developmental studies. Database includes developmental atlases and dictionaries, genetic mutants and maps, nomenclature, publications, resources, conference information and directories of people in the field. Also contains link to the NIH Zebrafish Genome Initiative
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Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
- BioTech's Life Sciences Dictionary. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 1996.
Contains over 8300 terms dealing with biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, cell biology and genetics. The database was formerly hosted at Indiana University, but is now on a University of Texas server. The definitions are generally brief and fairly technical; they would be most useful for undergraduates and up.
- Glossary of Genetic Terms. Bethesda, Md: National Human Genome Research Institute, Division of Intramural Research, 1998- .
A small (150 term) glossary of genetic terms. The terms are selected from those commonly found in news reports on the Human Genome Project and are aimed at the general public. There is a pronunciation guide, brief definition, and related terms for each term. In addition, the glossary includes a lengthy audio explanation of the term, read by well-known scientists. The audio portion requires RealAudio Player software, which can be downloaded from the NHGRI site.
- National Biotech Register. v. 1- , 1992- . Wilmington, MA: Barry. Annual. $79.95. ISSN 1074-9942.
Consists of three sections, including about 3500 brief company profiles, a subject listing of companies by research area, and a listing of trademarks. Company addresses and phone numbers are freely available on the Web. (Update: This resource is no longer available online.)
- Virtual Library-Developmental Biology. Maintained by the Society for Developmental Biology.
More directory than "virtual library", this site contains links organized by subject or organism to various developmental biology labs with a description of ongoing research. Also indexes departments, programs, institutes, societies, and organizations in the field of developmental biology.
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Guides to Internet Resources
The Internet is particularly useful for geneticists and developmental biologists, due to the large number of publicly accessible genome and mutant databases which are accessible through the Internet (see Databases, this section and Molecular and Cellular Biology). In addition, many genome projects are accessible through the Web, including genomes for the dog, C. elegans, forest trees, Arabidopsis, zebrafish, the mouse, maize, Mycoplasma capricolum, Saccaromyces, and E. coli, just to name a few.
- Bill Wasserman's Developmental Biology Page. Chicago, IL: Loyola University.
This excellent site provides links to Web sites for human development and for all the common model organisms used in developmental research: Drosophila, Xenopus, zebrafish, C. elegans, sea urchin, mouse, and Arabidopsis. There are also links to journals and several movies of developmental processes. (Update: This resource is no longer available online.)
- Biotechnology Information Directory Section-the World Wide Web Virtual Library.
Directory to numerous Web sites containing biotechnology information indexed by subject categories. Includes links to companies, products and services, databases, and software. (Update: This resource is no longer available online.)
- The Drosophila Virtual Library.
Links to databases, protocols, Drosophila labs, commercial suppliers, and other Web resources of interest to Drosophila researchers.
- The Dolan DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
This Web site provides a wide variety of information on genetics, molecular genetics, and genome projects. It includes the free, highly-regarded DNA from the Beginning program, "an animated primer on the basics of DNA, genes, and heredity". Also includes numerous links to other genetics and genome sites.
- Genetics Virtual Library (previously titled "Links to the Genetic World.")
Part of the Human Genome Project Information site, provides links to sites about the Human Genome Project, other genetics and life sciences sites, protein research information, transgenic animal sites and to many centers doing genetics research
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
THE place to go for information on molecular biology, genomics, and biotechnology. This Web site provides links to information for researchers, ranging from news briefs and online tutorials to information on the latest tools for data mining. The site also includes links to the numerous federally-funded genomics projects, GenBank and other molecular biology databases, and much more.
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- McKusick, V.A.: Mendelian Inheritance in Man: Catalogs of Human Genes and Genetic Disorders. 12th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. 3 v. $195.00. ISBN 0801857422.
This handbook catalogs hereditary diseases in humans; it is useful for genetic counseling. All known genetic disorders are described, along with their loci, if known, and references to the literature. The catalog is also freely available through the Web as OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) at NCBI.
- Westerfield, Monte. The Zebrafish Book: A Guide for the Laboratory Use of Zebrafish Danio (Brachydanio) rerio, 4th ed. Eugene OR: University of Oregon Press, 2000. $17.00. [no ISBN]
Contains information about all areas of zebrafish laboratory breeding, cell culture, molecular, genetic, and histological methods. The full text of the 3rd edition is available for free on the Web.
Textbooks and Treatise
- Gilbert, Scott F. Developmental Biology, 6th ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer, 2000. 749 p. $92.95. ISBN 0878932437.
A highly successful developmental text. The Web site DevBio contains material supplementary to the 9th edition book, including updates, experimental details, photos, interviews, and philosophical discussions of new technologies.
The National Agriculture Library's Biotechnology Information Center has a useful list of newsletters. While the emphasis is on agricultural biotechnology, many general biotech newsletters are listed, along with description, price, and contact information.
- Human Genome News. v. 2- , 1990- . Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Quarterly. Free. ISSN 1050-6101. Available electronically on the Web.
"Human Genome News is a newsletter of the U.S. Human Genome Project sponsored by the genome program of the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Research. HGN is intended to facilitate communication among genome researchers and to inform persons interested in genome research." Formerly: Human Genome Quarterly.
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