Editorial

Editorial

[Bill Duax]
The cover story in this issue of the IUCr Newsletter concerns the remarkable new improved Protein Data Bank (PDB). The PDB holds the key to determining the functions of the tens of thousands of protein products of the human, plant, animal, and bacterial genomes that are being sequenced with ever increasing rapidity. Most estimates suggest that the functions of 250,000 genes in the SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL Database are unknown. If the scientific community is going to meet the challenge of determining the functions of these hypothetical proteins and uncover the structural details required to make it possible to control and use the proteins for the benefit of mankind, the PDB may well be the most important scientific resource in the world. The new PDB has a remarkable range of activities that go well beyond the gathering and distribution of protein and nucleic acid crystal structure data. Those activities are outlined in the annual report for 2000 from which the report on page 25 was drawn. The cover illustration reflects the increase in number and size of protein structures being deposited in the database each year since it began.

This issue of the newsletter also includes two announcements of recent developments that are very important to the world community of crystallography, the merge of two major manufacturers of X-ray diffraction equipment, Bruker AXS and Nonius (page 20) and the change of venue of the 19th Congress and General Assembly of the IUCr, July 6-15, 2002 from Jerusalem to Geneva, Switzerland. The next issue of the newsletter will contain additional information about the meeting site in Geneva.

It saddens me to report the recent deaths of three leaders in the crystallographic community, G.N. Ramachandran, winner of the 1999 Ewald Prize, M.A. Viswamitra of the Physics Dept, Indian U. of Science, Bangalore, and Jan Kroon, Head of the Dept of Crystal and Structural Chemistry, U. Utrecht in the Netherlands.

As the IUCr newsletter begins it ninth year, I want to express my continued appreciation to the advertisers without whose support the newsletter could not be provided to the international crystallographic community. I also want to thank all those who have contributed news items, meeting reports, and announcements of future activities in their countries.

Four issues of the IUCr Newsletter were printed in 2000. The content covered IUCr activities, regional affiliates, news concerning crystallographers and crystallography, notices, awards, and elections, resources, obituaries, meeting reports, future meeting announcements, and a general calendar. Each issue contained 32 pages, a 33% increase over the previous year's content. The amount of material contributed from different countries especially Japan, India, and Africa, grew significantly.

Please send contributions concerning crystallography in your country, so that the newsletter can continue to reflect the unity of a community that recognizes no political boundaries.

Bill Duax
(duax@hwi.buffalo.edu)