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Nov 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 19)

Galaxy

URL:main.g2.bx.psu.edu
  • Very nice site design, great suite of data-analysis tools
  • None

One need not spend light years traveling to a galaxy far, far away in search of free data-analysis tools. This Galaxy, the brainchild of the people at the Center for Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics at Penn State University, contains an entire constellation of data-analysis tools that allow researchers to profile metagenomic samples, compare genomic annotations, and analyze multiple alignments, to name just a few of the tools’ capabilities. The website boasts that Galaxy “allows you to do analyses you cannot do anywhere else without the need to install or download anything,” and indeed, I was initially suspicious of “the catch.” The site is so sleekly designed that I initially thought Galaxy was a commercial tool that required purchasing. (Imagine my delight when I found out that it wasn’t!) With so much to explore, the best place to start is the Galaxy Wiki, complete with video tutorials.

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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.

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