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Thu Apr 25 07:54:00 EST 1991

                        To Arabidopsis Newsgroup Readers
             In a recent email to Chris Somerville I added a note to say 
        that I was disappointed in the kind of exchanges we have on the 
        Arabidopsis information network.  He suggested that I write a 
        piece for the start of the new system. Here goes.
             Since I signed on last December there have been few items of 
        substance.  Among them were the minutes of the Joint Informatics 
        Task Force meeting in November, Delaney's note  on lamda DNA 
        preparations in December, and the email address list in March.  
        This is not to say that the more than 70 other exchanges I have 
        read were not useful or interesting but to me most were either 
        not of general interest or lacked that element that makes you say 
        to a colleague "if you didn't read that yet you should".  
             I must admit that I had hoped to see more in the way of 
        discussions, arguments, useful gadgetry, comments on new methods 
        and equipment, preprints of short accepted papers, or abstracts 
        of longer ones, brief reports on seminars and meetings, notices 
        of forthcoming ones, grant opportunities, trial balloons, and 
        some plain crazy ideas - all of course relevant to people inter-
        ested in Arabidopsis.  
             To risk preaching to the converted let me report that at the 
        meeting in Raleigh, NC last month on Plant Breeding in the Nine-
        ties, Dick Flavell stressed the important role that Arabidopsis 
        will play in plant breeding.  You will know what he was driving 
        at - the value of a model system for isolating genes of economic 
        interest and seeing how to regulate, integrate, and manipulate 
        them and then doing it with other plant systems. I believe the 
        news group network provides an important way to accelerate all of 
        this.  Some people will be afraid of having their ideas pirated.  
        However, unlike a casual conversation, the ideas we float in this 
        medium are recorded for all to see.  I daresay that if proof of 
        priority were required this is it. 
             I remember many years ago learning the easy way to make up 
        70% ethanol from 95%, which is much cheaper than 100%, by taking 
        70 ml and adding 25 ml of water to a final volume of 95 ml.  Our 
        students have many other simple tricks of the trade and ideas to 
        learn, can we not share them more openly here?
             The recent burst of exchanges about tetraploidy is a good 
        sign. It will be to everyone's benefit if we continue to respond 
        to queries by writing to the network and not just the person 
        raising the question.
             Peter Day, Rutgers.
             April 25, 1991

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