Newsgroups differ from mailing lists in that they are

Stanford subscribes to over 8000 newsgroups, but there are over 24,000 newsgroups available if you use a service like Earthlink. However, Stanford subscribes to the more important groups, and especially, to all the scientific groups.

For biology, the most important groups are the Bionet groups.

Also, check out DejaNews.

The best place to view these is with some special software called a Newsreader. For the Mac, you can use programs like NewsWatcher, or InterNews. All you have to do is configure the software to use the Stanford news server,

Newsgroups and mailing lists can be very useful if you have a question to ask and you can't find the answer locally. By posting to a newsgroup, you are asking a question to perhaps hundreds or thousands of people at the same time. There is a good chance that someone out on the Internet has an answer to your question.

You have to be careful though. Newsgroups are very public, and it's possible to have someone who doesn't know what they are talking about answer your question.