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Apr 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 8)

Chilibot

URL:www.chilibot.net
  • Many search options
  • Some searches yield fewer results than expected

The term “robot” certainly carries the implication of making life easier for us flesh-and-blood types. They could clean our houses, walk our dogs, do…well, whatever it is you don’t want to! Along these lines, scientists will be thrilled with Chilibot. This “bot” (OK, it’s really just specialized search software) finds relationships between proteins, genes, or whatever other search terms you’d like by mining PubMed. For instance, the website gives the example of providing the terms “cocaine” and “plasticity” to identify the relationships between genes affected by cocaine treatment. Beyond the various search options, there is also a feature that generates hypotheses—that is, it will suggest possible gene relationships based on shared interactions within a larger gene network. (Although honestly, who wants to relinquish the joy of hypothesizing to some computer algorithm?)

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*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.

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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?

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