www.nature.com/naturebiotechnology • MAY 2003 • VOLUME 21 • nature biotechnology In the thirty years since its creation, the Internet has become an indispensable global broadcasting network for both the scientific community and the public at large. What began as an infrastructure for sharing computer-based information among government employees and academics is now commonplace in most homes and businesses. In the past five years, the Internet has also become a significant marketplace—effectively a ‘virtual shopping mall.’ Surprisingly, given the key role of the scientific community in its inception, life scientists were initially slow to embrace the commercial potential of the Internet. But this is changing. Various ‘biotech portals’ are now serving the community in diverse ways and from divergent points of departure. These websites are evolving towards models of e-commerce that target suppliers and customers with an array of biotechnology information, products, and services (see Table 1). Although the nature of the biotech portal continues to evolve, most sites have become aggregators rather than producers of scientific information. Most provide some mixture of research and business news, job postings, and virtual storefronts for the selling and marketing of tools, products, and services for the maturing biotechnology industry. This article will trace this evolution, from the creation of a motley array of largely homegrown websites to the handful of sites that inhabit this particular corner of cyberspace today.