BETHESDA, Md--The human gene map has found a worldwide audience
via the Internet. Researchers have published a new map containing
the locations of more than 16,000 genes identified so far in the
Human Genome Project (Science 274:547-562, 1996).
At the same time, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has opened
a user-friendly, graphic-rich, and data-dense World Wide Web site,
to provide information to scientific researchers, clinicians,
students, and the public.
By logging on to the new Web site, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Science96,
the public can get basic information about specific genetic diseases;
clinicians can get information to educate their patients and update
their own knowledge; and students and scientists can call up a
wealth of scientific data and research publications.
Equal Access for All
A patient, for instance, can call up a layman's description of
a disease, say Alzheimer's or diabetes mellitus, learn about organizations
that focus on the disease, such as the Alzheimer's Association,
and then have the option to tap into scientific publications.
Indeed, anyone visiting the web site will have the same access
to information--from casual Internet surfer to the world's leading
"Scientists, of course, have been using the Internet for
decades," said NLM director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD. "Now
this information is open to anyone with access to the Internet--the
high school biology student as well as the scientist. Each will
be looking at precisely the same data. Each will now be limited
only by the knowledge and understanding he or she brings to the