Internet resources: Biology - Miscellaneous

The resources below are loosely grouped by category. However, this grouping is inevitably rough. In the online world, it is not even clear what a "book" is. Some resources may be listed in more than one place. Others probably should be. Look around!
Biochemistry This is part of another page, for chemistry.

Biology: books and glossaries (Spanish) + New 10/2/16.
Biology: plants
Biology: other (Dutch, French, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Spanish)

Medicine: color vision and color blindness + New 10/14/16, 10/17/16.
Medicine: history
Medicine: books and reference materials
Medicine: other (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
Microbiology: books (Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish)
Microbiology: fungi
Microbiology: reference materials
Microbiology: other (Japanese) + New 6/5/16, 8/9/16

Microscopy + New 9/9/16

Nutrition; Food safety + New 6/28/16, 8/21/16
Bottom of page; return links, contact information

Other biology links are on pages intended for specific courses:
Molecular Biology Internet Resources
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry Internet Resources
Biotechnology in the News (BITN)
(There is some overlap among the various biology pages.)

If a language is listed above, in red, it means that one or more items in that language is listed. (Some of these items may be multilingual. These sites usually have a button near the top or bottom of the page to let you switch from one language to another.)

I am happy to receive contributions to consider for this page. However, I should emphasize that I want this to be fairly short but diverse. If you send me a long list of sites to list, I will probably just ignore the whole list. I'd rather hear about one site of some special interest -- and I am more likely to check one suggested site than many.

Please let me know if you find an improper link, and I will try to fix it.

Links to external sites will open in a new window.

Biology: books and glossaries

Kimball's Biology Pages. An excellent biology glossary, plus lots of information. From Dr John Kimball, the biology textbook author retired from Harvard. In fact, the site is almost an online textbook in biology. (This site is also listed for the Molecular Biology course, Ch 1 and for Intro Organic/Biochem as a general source of background biology information.)

Another excellent On-Line Biology Book, from M J Farabee, Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale, Arizona. A Glossary is listed near the end.

W P Armstrong's Biology 101, from Palomar College, San Marcos CA. A fine basic biology book, intended for use with an online course; well written and well organized.

Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives, a "professional development course for high school biology teachers", from the Annenberg Foundation. An online textbook, designed to accompany a TV series. In fact, the videos are here, too -- along with a range of resources. These high quality materials will likely be useful to many who would like to explore some basic biology.

Plant Physiology Online. A companion to the textbook: Plant Physiology, 5th Edition (2010), by Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger. Also listed in the section Biology: plants.

Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook, A textbook on integrated pest management, edited by E B Radcliffe & W D Hutchison, Univ of Minnesota. Also available in Spanish.

Other biology-related textbooks can be found in the section Microbiology: books, and on another page for biochemistry: Textbooks online. The Molecular Biology syllabus page lists both a Textbook and others listed as Supplementary books

The following sites list textbooks that are freely available online. They cover a wide range of subject areas, science and more.
* Open Textbook Library. Maintained at the University of Minnesota. Added October 2, 2016.
* Textbook Revolution.

On-line Medical Dictionary. Simple: Just enter a term, and see what happens. Or you can browse subject categories. Based on a resource originally provided by Dr Graham Dark, Univ Newcastle. Also listed in the section Medicine: books and reference materials.

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Biology: plants

Plants. Major encyclopedia of plants found in the US, from USDA. Pictures, too. "The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories."

Botanicus Digital Library. Botany history. An archive of classic writings in botany, dating back to 1480. The site is from the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

International Plant Names Index (IPNI), a reference source for names of plants.

Plant Physiology Online. A companion to the textbook: Plant Physiology, 5th Edition (2010), by Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger. Also listed in the section Biology: books and glossaries.

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Biology: other

(In no particular order.)

BIOLOGY4KIDS. A good introductory site for biology. It's kid-friendly, but not just for kids.

BioNumbers. A database of useful numbers in biology (or of key numbers in molecular biology, depending on which part of the site you read). Useful? Maybe. Certainly fun to browse. Have a look. If you know about it, you may find things in it that you want.

"The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Digital Library includes a catalog of images, narrative, and scientific nomenclature of plants, animals, minerals, and biotic communities of the Sonoran Desert region. This constantly expanding catalog currently features 12586 images!" (June 2012)

How to manage pests. Educational materials and practical advice from the University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

A major professional society for biologists is AIBS, the American Institute of Biological Sciences. They are clearly oriented towards organismal biology, but actually cover the entire spectrum of biology. Membership includes the monthly journal, BioScience. I list the AIBS educational site ActionBioscience as a general web site resource for BITN (Biotechnology in the News).

Encyclopedia of Life. "Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about all life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world." The goal is to include information about each of the 1.8 million known species of life; this first release (February 2008) has about 30,000 of them.

Tree of Life. An interactive graphic showing how the major life forms are related. Click an item for more information. The site is from David Hillis, University of Texas. Thanks to Borislav Dopudja for suggesting this site.

AnimalBase. "Our objective is to provide free access for all scientists to the old zoological literature, particularly to those important publications where name-bearing zoological taxa were originally described." The site contains several hundred books and papers, with an emphasis on original reports of animal species, from the 16th - 18th centuries, with more to come. From the University of Göttingen.

BioInteractive, an educational resource from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute:

Virtual Classroom Biology, an educational resource, with a major collection of images and movies. Also in Dutch, German.

BioEd Online, from Baylor College of Medicine. Good introductory articles, slide shows, some short videos -- generally aimed at the high school level. Current "Hot topics in biology" include: Adult Neurogenesis, Embryonic Stem Cells, Bird Flu, Tsunami, Homo floresiensis, Flu Basics, Mad Cow Disease.

"The Cell: An Image LibraryTM is a freely accessible, easy-to-search, public repository of reviewed and annotated images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing cell architecture, intracellular functionalities, and both normal and abnormal processes. The purpose of this database is to advance research, education, and training, with the ultimate goal of improving human health." From The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).

IPM Images: The source for agricultural images.

Bio Careers, with career resources and job listings:

Biology Browser. A biology portal, from Thomson Reuters: Thousands of biology web sites are accessible through this portal

The National Digital Gallery, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Lots of wildlife photos.

The Animated Cell, by John Kyrk: Animations of cells and a range of cellular processes, from general structure to molecular. Sometimes the site seems complex, but give it a try; content quality is good. Also in French, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Spanish.

Understanding evolution, a major resource from UC Berkeley. It is aimed at K-12 teachers.

Science, Evolution, and Creationism. A report for the general public, from the National Academy of Sciences, January, 2008. There is a link to a short "summary brochure"; the entire report can be read free online. A news story about the release of this report, Evolution Book Sees No Science-Religion Gap:

I have links to biology resources in various places around my site. Some are in other sections of this page. Some are on the pages of resources for Molecular Biology or BITN = Biotechnology in the News. For example, my page of Molecular Biology Internet Resources includes a section listing some sites that focus on specific types of organisms. Some of these deal mostly with molecular data, but some are more general.

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Medicine: color vision and color blindness

Posts in my Musings newsletter related to this topic include:
* Added October 17, 2016. Red color vision in dinosaurs? (October 17, 2016).
* Added October 14, 2016. Chromatic aberration: is it how cephalopods see color with only one kind of photoreceptor? (October 14, 2016).
* Can the naked human eye measure distance to nanometer accuracy? (July 20, 2015).
* Color vision: an overview (December 1, 2014).
* How can the mantis shrimp see so many colors of UV? They use filters (August 30, 2014).
* Color vision: The advantage of having twelve kinds of photoreceptors? (February 21, 2014).
* Why might it be good to put lights on fish nets? (September 9, 2013).
* A better understanding of the basis of color vision (February 1, 2013).
* Butterflies and UV vision (June 29, 2010).

A good overview of the nature of light -- especially visible light -- and of color vision. From Bruce MacEvoy.

Ishihara Test for colorblindess. The following page offers the standard tests for color blindness, plus some information. Note that the tests cannot be considered medically rigorous, since they depend on the color presentations of your monitor. The page is part of a larger site, Colors for the color blind, by Frank Dutton; see the menu just below the top banner.

Colorblindness Test for Children. It is intended for little children too young to deal with the numbers found on the usual tests.

M Okabe & K Ito have proposed that color figures be "enhanced" to make them more readable by colorblind people. For example, many molecular and cell biology results are shown in red and green -- a color combination that a few percent of males cannot distinguish. The proposal is to use magenta instead of red; the magenta contains enough blue to allow the color to be distinguished from the green by many colorblind people. For more on this "accessibility" issue, see

An interesting development... Scientists have reported "curing" colorblindness in monkeys. The monkeys have partial color vision, similar to common kinds of colorblindness in humans. Using gene therapy, the scientists added the information to make a new type of color receptor -- new, that is, for these monkeys. Interestingly, the monkeys seem to make good use of the new receptor. One aspect of this is that the brain was able to make use of the new information. A good news story: Gene therapy cures colour-blind monkeys; September 16, 2009: It links to the article published in Nature.

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Medicine: history

Also see Chemistry: History and Science: History.

Related posts in my Musings newsletter:
* Chikungunya in the Americas, 1827 -- and the dengue confusion (April 3, 2015).
* On a new method of treating compound fracture... (July 11, 2012).

Medicine in the Americas 1610-1914: A Digital Library, from NIH.

The story of cholera. More than that, this site is the story of how a disease outbreak is studied. It recounts how John Snow tracked a cholera outbreak in London in the mid 19th century to polluted water. From Ralph Frerichs at the UCLA epidemiology department. From the left hand menu bar, you can access other epidemiology stories, on bioterrorism and HIV.

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Medicine: books and reference materials

Free books for doctors: A collection of online medical books. It's quite a collection -- basic and specialized! The emphasis is clearly medical, but there is a useful supply of books in the basic sciences, including biochemistry, genetics, and microbiology. The extensive list of medical topics includes such things as sports medicine and travel medicine; check the "Topics" list. Books in several languages are listed. Also, click on Journals, and you will get a list of medical journals that are available online; some of the major medical journals release their files for free access a few months after publication. This site is also listed for Miscellaneous Internet resources -- Books. (Thanks to Gunjan Gala, Mumbai University, for recommending this site.)

Immunology for Medical Students or Immunology Whitebook. Click on the link to Immunology Whitebook PDF. From an earlier version... "This site was designed by Dr. Tim Lee, Dr. Angela McGibbon and Dr. Andrew Issekutz as a reference for medical students in first year and for quick review during clinical clearkship. Members of the general public may also find this site useful." There is a little confusion here. The site was, as I recall, originally a web page; it is now a pdf file -- with a different title. The information on the page given here is not clear, but I think you will find the pdf useful. From Dalhousie University.

Lab Tests Online: Maintained by clinical lab professionals for the consumer public, this site offers information about medical tests.

Clinical Laboratory Reference: "The primary purpose of this web site is to provide a comprehensive, yet practical, resource for all clinical laboratorians. The major didactic features include detailed explanations of: over 500 laboratory tests, 40 transfusion guidelines, method evaluation protocols, test utilization guidelines and algorithms." From Dr F V Plapp, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO.

Merck Manual Online Medical Library: A great resource for medical information; searchable.

On-line Medical Dictionary. Simple: Just enter a term, and see what happens. Or you can browse subject categories. Based on a resource originally provided by Dr Graham Dark, Univ Newcastle. Also listed in the section Biology: books and glossaries.

Who named it? Information about the people whose names are associated with diseases -- over 4500 of them.

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Medicine: other

"The Literature, Arts & Medicine Database is an annotated multimedia listing of prose, poetry, film, video and art that was developed to be a dynamic, accessible, comprehensive resource for teaching and research in Medical Humanities, and for use in health/pre-health, graduate and undergraduate liberal arts and social science settings". From New York University School of Medicine. I have also listed this item under Art & Music.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, popularly known as "the CDC".

DrugDigest. "DrugDigest is a noncommercial, evidence-based, consumer health and drug information site dedicated to empowering consumers to make informed choices about drugs and treatment options."

Microbial Triggers Of Chronic Human Illness. A report on microbes that play a role in chronic diseases, such as peptic ulcers and some cancers. This report discusses some examples that are well characterized, and some where there is only a hint at this point. It discusses the difficulties of determining a role for microbes in slow and complex diseases. From the American Academy of Microbiology, April 2005.

The Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia (SED) and Spondylometaphyseal Dysplasia (SMD) Page. Everything you ever wanted to know about these genetically determined forms of human dwarfism. A very nice page, which should be a model of how to develop a web site focused on a specific medical condition. The page is from a former student, who provided the following description:

A web page about a specific genetic condition created by and for people with the condition. I also have a significant introductory section on doing your own internet research, as well as questions and answers for families of newly diagnosed children. This could be relevant for those interested in the human side of genetic diseases and conditions. The hardest part about the web page was organizing the VOLUMES of material and not overwhelming folks.

"ORPHANET is a database dedicated to information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge." Choose the page for the language you want: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.

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Microbiology: books

Online textbooks of general microbiology:
* Through the microscope: A look at all things small, from Timothy Paustian and Gary Roberts, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
* Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology, from Kenneth Todar, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
* Grapes of Staph, from G Kaiser, Community College of Baltimore County (Maryland). Choose Lecture Guide or Laboratory Manual.

Online textbooks of medical microbiology:
* Medical Microbiology; edited by Dr Samuel Baron, Univ Texas Galveston. 4/e, 1996. Over 100 chapters, on a wide range of pathogenic microbes. Hosted at the PubMed Bookshelf.
* Microbiology and Immunology Online; from University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Also in Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, French, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish (in part; translations are in progress). Some lectures are available in audio, video and slide show formats

A general listing of free online textbooks, and similar resources, arranged by subject: Textbook Revolution.

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Microbiology: fungi

Tom Volk's Fungi. People like pictures of fungi! Here is one popular site with lots of pictures and information. It includes a Fungus of the Month feature. (University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.)

Doctor Fungus, a site maintained by doctors and scientists. Much of it is for use by doctors, but much is also at a level accessible to the general public. Full of info (and pictures), including many environmental issues as well as medical.

Mycology Web Pages, by David Malloch, of the New Brunswick Museum and the University of Toronto. Among the numerous sections: Natural history of the fungi, and Moulds: An online reference manual for the isolation, cultivation and identification of moulds. For the latter, his introduction notes...The emphasis is on identification but information on many aspects of practical work with moulds is also presented. An introductory guide to the study of moulds (fungi) Includes discussions of mould classification, methods of study, importance to humans, and identification. Picture and text keys are provided for many of the most common fungi found in soil, indoor environments, outdoor air, food, etc. Individual genera of moulds are described and illustrated.

Mycology Online, an educational site with medical emphasis, from David Ellis, Univ Adelaide. Many pictures.

California fungi -- including mushrooms. These sites focus on "local" fungi, but also have some materials of general interest.
* MykoWeb, from Michael Wood & Fred Stevens.
* Bay Area Mycological Society. There are distinct menus at the top and bottom of the main page. For example, "Poisonings" is at the top, but "Education" is at the bottom.

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Microbiology: reference materials

Bacterial names. The "List of Prokaryotic Names with Standing in Nomenclature" is a great resource for sorting out proper modern names for bacteria.

Culture collections. A database of culture collections, for microbes, viruses, and even cell lines, from the World Data Centre for Microorganisms (Japan). It also links to sites for many genome projects.

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Microbiology: other

The major professional society for microbiologists in the US is ASM, the American Society for Microbiology:

Microbe World: ASM maintains a site of general microbiology information, aimed broadly at students and teachers, with some for the general public. Offerings include daily radio and biweekly video podcasts.

Microbe World (above) includes a microbiology timeline, describing Microbiology's 50 most significant events 1875-1995:

Microbial Biotechnology -- a nice list of "Useful Internet Resources". Sections include: Chemical Compounds, Enzymes and their Genes, Metabolic Pathways, Microorganisms, Scientific Literature and Related Information, Biodegradation and Biotechnology in General. This page is part of the Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database site (originally from the University of Minnesota and now part of EAWAG), which is listed on my page Science on the Internet: an introduction. Another page from the site, the Biochemical Periodic Table, is listed on my page Introductory Chemistry -- Internet resources in the section Periodic table. -- microbiology links. At various levels, including for the general public. Also links to microbiology journals. From Al Chan.

The Virtual Museum of Bacteria. A wide range of microbiology information and links, arranged by level (for students and professionals).

Microbial Life - Educational Resources (MLER). "Teaching and learning about the diversity, ecology and evolution of the microbial world; discover the connections between microbial life, the history of the earth and our dependence on micro-organisms. This site contains a variety of educational and supporting materials for students and teachers of microbiology. You will find information about microorganisms, extremophiles and extreme habitats, as well as links to online provides information about the ecology, diversity and evolution of micro-organisms for students, K-12 teachers, university faculty, and the general public." Major sections include Microbial Life in Extreme Environments and Microbial Life in Marine Environments. From the Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College.

Beijerinck Museum: Archives of the Delft School of Microbiology. Delft. Beijerinck. Kluyver. van Leeuwenhoek. A site full of history! From Lesley Robertson at the Delft University of Technology.

The Microbial World - Microorganisms and microbial activities, a broad site for microbiology students, with considerable emphasis on the natural roles of microbes. From J Deacon, Univ Edinburgh. Now archived at

Bugs in the News. Very broad. Much of the site consists of answers to science questions posed in the form "What the heck is..." (such as mad cow disease, penicillin, or HIV protease inhibitors). The articles are well written, for a general audience. Fun and instructive. From Jack Brown, University of Kansas, Added August 9, 2016

Protists. The Protist Information Server. Thousands of pictures, including movie clips, covering over 3100 species of these single-celled eukaryotes. Plus more. Also in Japanese.

Phage therapy. The idea of using bacteriophages as therapeutic agents occurred to phage pioneers, and was popularized in the Sinclair Lewis novel Arrowsmith. For various reasons, the idea did not gain wide acceptance, but it is undergoing a resurgence.

A major news feature, good overview: J Madhusoodanan, Viral Soldiers -- Phage therapy to combat bacterial infections is garnering attention for the second time in 100 years, but solid clinical support for its widespread use is still lacking. The Scientist, January 2016, p 27. Added June 5, 2016

Betty Kutter, a phage researcher at Evergreen State College, has posted several pages on phage therapy:

Arrowsmith is now listed on my page of Books: Suggestions for general science reading -- Arrowsmith.

A post in my Musings newsletter on phage therapy: A virus that could treat acne? (October 21, 2012).

The Bad Bug Book. Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook. From the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), US FDA; 2nd edition, 2012. (Also listed under Nutrition; Food safety.)

My page on Unusual microbes. A brief discussion of some of the oddities of the microbial world, organisms that capture our imagination by being different.

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This section is primarily about light microscopy. Also see the Atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy (AFM, EM) section of my page for Internet Resources for Introductory Chemistry.

Posts in my Musings newsletter on this topic include...
* Added September 9, 2016. How a spider can help you do better microscopy (September 9, 2016).
* Using your phone to find Loa loa (August 14, 2015).
* Expansion microscopy: making an object bigger can make it easier to see (February 23, 2015).
* A ream of microscopes for $300? (June 22, 2014).
* Characterization of carbon nanotubes (December 3, 2013).
* A more powerful method for measuring what is in a cell (July 23, 2013).
* A microscope small enough that a mouse can wear it on its head (November 12, 2011).
* Device intended for medical diagnostics moves into the world of entertainment (October 20, 2010).
* Connecting a cell phone and a microscope (September 2, 2009).

The Micropolitan Museum. A "Museum of microscopy" from Wim van Egmond and the Institute for the Promotion of the Less Than One Millimetre. Fantastic pictures of diverse life forms (though with minimal information). The "Museum Floor Plan" (link at bottom) may be a good place to start.

The following sites have extensive educational and historical resources, including many good pictures.

Molecular Expressions - Exploring the worlds of optics and microscopy. From Michael W Davidson, Florida State University.

Microscopy & Imaging Resources. Extensive collection of Internet links, and more. Major sections include: Microscopy for K-12 students and educators, General microscopy, Light microscopy, Histology, Confocal and fluorescence microscopy, Electron microscopy, Digital imaging, From Douglas W Cromey, University of Arizona.

Olympus Microscopy Resource Center. A commercial site, with many useful educational resources, and image galleries.

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Nutrition; Food safety

Posts in my Musings newsletter on these topics include...
* Added August 21, 2016. Cockroach milk (August 21, 2016).
* Added June 28, 2016. Chefs' preferences can lead to food poisoning (June 28, 2016).
* The WHO report on the possible carcinogenicity of meat (December 12, 2015).
* Using a plasma to kill norovirus (June 5, 2015).
* Is the lychee (litchi) a toxic food? (May 11, 2015).
* The cost of food poisoning (October 14, 2014).
* Should you take a vitamin (or mineral) supplement? (July 14, 2014).
* Tracking food poisoning through online reviews (July 7, 2014).
* How do vegetables get contaminated? (August 31, 2013).
* Vitamin D: How much is too much? (July 9, 2013).
* Rice and arsenic: rice syrup, baby food, and energy bars (April 23, 2012).
* Golden rice as a source of vitamin A: a clinical trial and a controversy (November 2, 2012).
* Printed electronics: Using a printer to make a better can of soup (April 3, 2012).
* Fructose; soft drinks vs fruit juices (November 7, 2010).
* Breeding plants to be more nutritious (May 11, 2010).
* Is folic acid good for you or bad for you? (April 10, 2010).
* Omega-3 fatty acids; fish oil (March 29, 2010).
* Killer chickens (December 2, 2009). Links to follow-up and related posts. There is overlap between the lists of posts there and here, with no clear distinction between what the two lists cover.

For more about nutrition see:
* Internet resources - Organic and Biochemistry, especially sections for Lipids and Metabolism.
* Further reading: Medical topics
* Nutrigenomics, discussed in the BITN section Examples of how genome information is useful

Office of Dietary Supplements, from the NIH. Lots of information on safety and effectiveness. "Health information" may be a good choice, to start., a "gateway to federal food safety information". From the US Department of Health & Human Services. Lots of information, including news on things such as recalls and alerts.

The Bad Bug Book. Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook. From the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), US FDA; 2nd edition, 2012. (Also listed under Microbiology.)

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Last update: December 20, 2016