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Browsing biology on the web: NextBio

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 12, 2008 7:14 PM


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Last year p-ter put up a post pointing to useful online tools such as Haplotter. One of the great things about biology today is that so much of the data from genomics is being thrown out there within reach of the plebs. And a lot of value is being added through user interfaces which smooth the connection between you and these databases. So check out NextBio; from the FAQ:

NextBio is a life science search engine that enables researchers and clinicians to access and understand the world's life sciences information. With NextBio, in just one click you can search through tens of thousands of study results with billions of data points spanning across different experimental platforms, organisms and data types. NextBio also searches across millions of publications to help you find new articles pertaining to your query. NextBio's search engine makes massive amounts of disparate biological, clinical and chemical data from public and proprietary sources searchable, regardless of data type and origin, and empowers scientists to quickly understand their own experimental results within the context of other research.

I'm sure the slick AJAX-driven search tools are a nice Web 2.0+ pitch to investors; but the substantive element is the data. There are only so many researchers with eyeballs in the world; on occasion amateur astronomers can still pick out something new amongst the constellations, and I think to some extent that that sort of dynamic also holds for the amount of unprocessed data that the post-genomic era has made available to us. I really encourage readers of this weblog to poke and prod around the data piles with these new tools; Web 2.0 isn't just YouTube and Facebook....

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