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Nov 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 19)


  • Size of database info
  • Confusing in places
Described on its opening page as “database and graphical user interface enabling comparative genomic studies within the Metazoa,” Metazome houses 10 sequenced animal genomes, whose genetic information has been cross-linked with PFAM, KOG, and PANTHER (see below for more). Access to information is primarily via a search engine, which permits users to examine not only sequence alignments and phylogenetic relationships of selected genes, but also their functional context and synteny. Searches are performed in a BLAST window (with pasting in of sequences) or a rather Spartan “searchable nodes” windows where users can search through organism info (mammals, for example) or, alternatively, can perform alignments. The last function, in my hands, was confusing at best or nonfunctional at worst. Overall, though, Metazome provides easy access to a considerable amount of information.
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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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