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Aug 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 14)


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You’ve got to like the clever title of this site. Covering large-scale protein clustering and identification of protein families, Systers is a database of considerable value for protein researchers. For example, FunctionInference is a tool for helping to identify functions of unknown proteins. Visitors simply enter database accession IDs and the program does the rest. Visitors can also browse or search for protein families using keywords, gene names, and other information. Over 7,500 phylogenetic profiles from over 19,000 Syster protein families are housed at the site and users can easily access them. Phylogenetic search options that allow one to restrict searches’ taxonomically BLASTP and BLASTX options for retrieving protein families by sequence search round out an excellent set of tools. If you’re looking for information on protein families, this is the place to look.
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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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