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Apr 15, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 8)


  • Very easy to use, many search parameters
  • None

Well, I can’t tell you the significance of its name (nor why the logo is a photo of the moon), but I can tell you that Rhea is a very handy database of chemical reactions. The collaborative brainchild of the Panda Chemoinformatics and Metabolism Group at the EBI and the Swiss-Prot Group at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Rhea is just plain easy to use. (And I’ll never complain about that!) Its search feature works exactly the way we all want search features to work: one can search by a number of parameters, including compound name, complete chemical equation, or citation. Additionally, the “wildcard” characters, ( “?” represents one character and “*” represents several characters), greatly increase the variety of search results returned. (For instance, the example given on the site: Searching for a?e?o* will return reactions that contain compounds like acetoin, acetone, or adenosine.)

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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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