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Blinded by science? Check out Scitable

Does genetics make your toes (and DNA) curl with glee? If so check out Scitable. This new “collaborative learning space for science” is from Nature Publishing Group (NPG), one of the top-notch publishers of science information.

The site offers:

  • A science library with over 150 free articles that explain the science of genetics.
  • A community where you can connect and join groups. Teachers can create a classroom group, and students can ask experts questions.

The strength of the site is in the evidence-based content. An article on “Genes, Smoking, and Lung Cancer” starts:

Imagine this kind of warning on a cigarette package: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risk to your health, particularly if your DNA is mutated at the 15q24 locus. Would you get tested for this mutation?

I’m hooked! (On the article, not the cigarettes.)

The target audience is undergraduate faculty and students, but anyone in search of a solid explanation of a genetics-related topic will find it here. For example, a scan of the question board found a dog trainer inquiring about “how fast a selected trait can be diminished in a canine.” The trainer was directed to a helpful article on “The Genetics of Dog Breeding.”

The site is easy to navigate and has some wonderful photos from Nature’s archives. Currently the content is focused on genetics, but hopefully more topics from the extensive collection of NPG journals (Nature Biotechnology, Nature Nanotechnology, and Nature Neuroscience, to name just a few) will be added in the not-too-distant future.