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 medical researchers.
"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 task."