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May 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 10)

NIH MBI Laboratory Servers

  • Large assortment of tools
  • Some links don’t work
Molecular models have certainly come a long way since those kits with various-colored balls—fun to put together, but impossible to take apart. Nowadays one can eliminate sore fingertips by performing one’s molecular modeling on the computer. (Who wants to build a peptide chain by hand, anyway?) For those of you with in silico inclinations, the NIH MBI Laboratory Servers offer a panoply of resources. With 26 servers, one can detect errors in protein models with ERRAT, or determine the amount of rare E. coli codons from a sequence with RACC (the appropriately named rare codon calculator). Crystal twinning and Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein regulation are also within the scope of this site. The only disappointment, as far as I could tell, was the nonfunctional “electronic notebook for recording crystallization experiments.” Alas, I am left to make do with paper and pen. I guess computers can’t replace everything.
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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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