Xenopus: from tadpole to model organism
- Aengus Stewart
© BioMed Central Ltd 2000
Received: 25 October 1999
Published: 17 March 2000
Developmental biology, primarily work with the embryos of Xenopus species X. laevis and X. tropicalis, is the focus of this site.
Xenopus molecular marker resource at the Institut de Génétique Humaine in France, maintained by Denis Pugnére.
Developmental biology, primarily work with the embryos of Xenopus species X. laevis and X. tropicalis, is the focus of this site. It contains a large collection of experimental protocols and very high quality images of histological stains. It also has a 'latest news' section, details of suppliers and Xenopus researchers, and movies of development. It incorporates a full site-archive search facility and is part of the WWW Virtual Library catalog. All the listed molecular markers are illustrated with images; they have a varying degree of annotation and are linked to associated references in PubMed.
The structure of the site is a simple hierarchy, with most pages available from the main page or the layer below; most of this second layer comprises large index pages. Each page has a footer menu listing the main pages. There are at least three search engines for the site to choose from, Htdig, LookSmart, and WrebGlimpse, although the last is linked only from the footer menu.
The 'What's new?' section was last updated on the 16 September 1999 and lists changes made elsewhere on the site.
Because of the site's simple architecture, all information is available in one or two clicks, and if you still can't find what you are looking for, the plethora of search engines should help solve the problem. The images on the 'Marker' pages are of excellent quality and many of them are thumbnailed to decrease loading time.
The site is directed solely at those within the Xenopus community, making it difficult for non-specialists to negotiate, and the Moon lab's URL, on the front page, was a dead link.
More background information on the project and where it is going would be useful. To this end, the site could summarize the NIH recommendations on the main page. The front page would benefit from a more structured layout of the site overview. One idea might be to link together all marker pages for a specific tissue type, and to standardize them to contain the same categories of information - such as image, image annotation, PubMed search, short information summary for marker, and sequence download. Many of the tissue-type pages only have some, rather than all, of the above.