Mutant photographs on the World Wide Web
--Neuffer, MG

In the past few years I've been trying to get stocks of most of my maize mutant collection to the Stock Center. To make the collection more useful, we decided to make the information that had been accumulated about each mutant available on the World Wide Web. This was made possible, of course, by the fact that Ed Coe maintains MaizeDB (http://www.agron.missouri.edu), and I had access to the excellent services of the MaizeDB curator, Mary Polacco, and the database administrator, Denis Hancock. Our first order of business was to create forms for each of the mutants and enter as much information about each as possible. By the time this was done, the technology had moved forward enough to make adding a picture of each mutant feasible. For many years I have been taking pictures (mostly slides) of maize mutants, accumulating over time about 8,000 slides. After a very laborious culling process, we had over 3,000 slides commercially transferred to Kodak Photo CDs (prices for this service vary widely, but we paid 88 cents per slide). We then cropped each image to reduce its size, and attached the image to the relevant MaizeDB variation form. Other than cropping, the images were not edited or enhanced because there was no way to control the look of the image as it would appear on various browsers. (For those of you who are interested in the Photo CD technology, we have had very good success with it. Up to 100 images can be stored on each CD, and each image appears at 5 separate resolutions. If you have huge amounts of computer memory and a very good monitor, you can view the images at the highest resolution and zoom in to enlarge even the tiniest dots and sectors. Each PhotoCD comes with a "thumbnail" print, so a quick glance will show you what is on the disk. We have not done this, but the entire CD can be copied for about $20.) Some of the images are not as good as I would have liked, but many of them are as good or better than the slide. If you go to the MaizeDB home page, you will see that the helpful curator has put a list of all these images under "Of Interest to Maize Cooperators" (http://www.agron.missouri.edu/NeufferImages.html).

The next project will be to improve the captions for the images and possibly to add the photos I have accumulated of other genes that are not in my mutant collection. We are still in the process of sending seed stocks to the Coop; they have now received stocks of over 1300 mutants.


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