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Aug 01, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 14)

Pathway Hunter Tool

URL:pht.tu-bs.de/PHT/
  • Different analytic tools
  • Instructions could be more thorough

The Pathway Hunter Tool is a wonderful resource for people who delight in the complexity of metabolic pathways, as well as those who abhor it. (Allow me to explain.) This systems biology-based bioinformatics tool, developed at the University of Cologne in Germany, puts all of the metabolic pathways of a number of model organisms at one’s fingertips. (A virtual organism defined by specific enzymes can also be constructed.) One can generate a list of potential drug targets based on the production/consumption of metabolites and enzymes, find the shortest path between a substrate and product metabolite, and perform statistical analyses of the overall connectivity of metabolic pathways. These various options generate a large amount of data (for all of you complexity-lovers out there), yet the site also provides a link to a wonderful tool that organizes the data into eye-friendly flow charts. Anyone who has ever cursed the convolution of metabolism will truly enjoy the Pathway Hunter Tool data displayed in the yEd Graph Editor.

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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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