We were delighted that, despite terrible weather and transport conditions, many people attended the official launch of the BIOME Service at The Royal Society on 2nd November. Some interesting facts were presented at the launch. In addition to an introduction to our new Service, http://biome.ac.uk/ by Karen Stanton, Director of Information Services at Nottingham University, delegates were informed that not only were they 98 percent related to chimps, but that their genes show 60 percent similarity to bananas! We were presented with these facts during an entertaining talk by Professor Steve Jones, renowned geneticist and author, who illustrated the importance of the internet in scientific research, especially with regard to dissemination of sequence data such as that obtained from the human genome project. Michael Wills, Minister for Learning and Technology gave the key note speech, presenting his vision of the developing role of the Internet in the delivery and support of education and knowledge and Dr Denis Blight , Director General of CAB International spoke about information management within the agricultural and veterinary sectors. The afternoon session of the launch consisted of workshops aligned with the subject areas of the five BIOME gateways and we are extremely grateful for the valuable input from participants. The comments and suggestions provided will play an important part in our development planning.
Posters and A5 leaflets are now available, both for BIOME and for each of the five subject-specific gateways (OMNI, Vetgate, BioResearch, Natural Selection and AgriFor) within the BIOME Service. To request copies, please email Jenny Hall at email@example.com.
Looking forward to the New Year, BIOME will be proto-typing new services as part of the Resource Discovery Network, Subject Portals Development Project. Facilities such as cross searching other information sources, and community services will be explored and tested. The Project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) under the 5/99 call for proposals and forms part of the programme to deliver the Distributed National Electronic Resource  for the further and higher education and research communities.