Move over microarray listservs, there’s a new kid on the Internet block. The USENET newsgroup bionet.molbio.genearrays has been opened up for an unmonitored discussion of all topics related to microarray and gene array technology.
These topics include "making filter arrays or slide arrays; normalization; quality control; quality assurance; array software and databases; theory and data mining; arrays, reagents or equipment commercially available; and product announcements," an official posting about this newsgroup said.
Brian Fristensky, an associate professor in the department of plant science at the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg, started the newsgroup because he said he was tired of having his e-mailbox cluttered with listserv postings.
"From people sending personal mail to viruses, the listservs tend to lead to a signal-to noise problem," said Fristensky. "There are so many e-mails from the Gene-Arrays listserv that other mail gets lost."
USENET newsgroups also offer the advantage of organizing postings on specific topics into threads, said Fristensky. "Instead of looking through 20 different topics interlaced on one screen, people can ignore the threads that are not of interest," he said.
To get to the newsgroup, researchers can go to the newsreader feature on Netscape, Outlook Express, or other software, then to the bionet groups. Once a user gets to the bionet.molbio.genearrays, the software will offer instructions on how to subscribe.