Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

Best of the Web

More »
Jan 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 2)

Aipotu

URL:intro.bio.umb.edu/aipotu
  • Nice idea
  • Needs better design to be useful to students
I’m not quite sure what to make of a site that thinks the backwards spelling of ‘utopia’ equates with some sort of a software utopia. Aipotu was formerly known as the Molecular Genetics Explorer, and it is a free downloadable software package that attempts to simulate “the genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution of organisms in a biologically reasonable and pedagogically relevant way.” The program contains four modules—Genetics (for explaining living things in terms of genes); Biochemistry (for explaining living things in terms of proteins); Molecular Biology (connects the first two modules to explain how genes encode proteins); and Evolution (explains how features change over time). The software looks fine as an idea, but I found it less than intuitive to use. The instructions for the program’s operation on the webpage were only slightly helpful. I’m not sure I’d recommend the current incarnation to a student hoping to learn these basic biological principles.
  • Key:
  • Strong Points
  • Weak Points
  • Ratings:
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good


*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

Be sure to take the GEN Poll

Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

More »