[Xenopus] Introducing XenHead

Adams, Dany Dany.Adams at tufts.edu
Mon Aug 10 16:26:54 EDT 2015

Dear Xenopus community,

Michael Levin and I are Co-PIs on a grant from NICHHD that includes funding to create an Atlas of Normal Xenopus Craniofacial Development.  The use of Xenopus to study craniofacial development is increasing, and so is the need for a central repository of what we know. Having such a resource will make it easier for all of us to do state-of-the-art research in this field and to apply for funding for craniofacial projects. To make sure XenHead gets the best start we can give it, we are soliciting thoughts and ideas from the Xenopus community.  Conversations with researchers have already begun* and we hope for them to continue and expand.

Many great databases already exist. The distinguishing characteristics of this one will be:
>  a focus on the normal development of Xenopus anterior structures, inside and out;
>  multiple images, rather than a single example, to show a realistic range of normal;
>  inclusion of anterior/frontal views in addition to dorsal, ventral, and lateral;
>  inclusion of physiology in addition to anatomy and genetics;
>  interactive features designed to simplify the collating and exporting of contents that are of interest to you and your students.

We plan for the atlas to comprise two and three dimensional images, videos, and maps, covering stages 12 through 50 in 12 to 15 divisions.  Subjects will include: external morphology (out of, and still in, the vitelline envelope), internal morphology, physiology, RNA and protein expression maps and arrays, and ways to use Xenopus as a model system for human diseases. One high priority is to entice contributors by making the logistics of contributing as simple as possible.  By including multiple illustrations the site will also provide information that cannot be found in the primary literature.  And finally, the site will provide excellent opportunities for students, at any point in their careers, to make tangible contributions to the field.

In addition to the utility of such a collection for research, teaching, and avoiding unnecessary replication of work, the site will also mean opportunities for all of us to make available the thousands of images that already exist on our computers, but that did not make it into a manuscript.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about what would make XenHead a resource that you would use and recommend, and, of course, where you would want to see your work. We are particularly interested in hearing ideas for how to build this resource so that contributors are not overburdened but information and annotations are clear and accurate.

Please contact me with your thoughts at Dany.Adams at Tufts.edu <mailto:Dany.Adams at Tufts.edu> .  To avoid the spam folder put ‘XenHead’ in the subject line.
Thank you in advance for your input, and please start thinking about what you might want to contribute.

Dany Spencer Adams and Michael Levin
August 10, 2015

*Thanks again to Christina James-Zorn, Janine Ziermann, David Blackburn, Keith Cheng, Kristin Artinger, Gerhard Schlosser, Anne-Helene Monsouro-Borq, Sally Moody, Jean-Pierre Saint-Jeannet, Karen Liu, Ruchi Bajpai, Amanda Dickinson, Roberto Mayor, James Hanken, and Aaron Zorn.

Dany Spencer Adams, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Department of Biology, Tufts University
TEL (617) 627-6204
FAX (617) 627-5305
Dany.Adams at Tufts.edu


Dany Adams
Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology
200 Boston Avenue, Suite 4600
Medford, MA 02155

"Err and err and err again, but less and less and less."   P. Hein
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