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Mar 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 5)

The Ribosome Builder Project

  • Ambitious idea
  • Still in development
Virtual life projects have been around since the early days of personal computing. As computers have gotten more sophisticated, so too have these applications. An interesting cousin of these efforts is the subject of this rather unusual site, The Ribosome Builder Project. Aiming to design a software program to simulate structural models of the macromolecules comprising the ribosome, along with a simple molecular dynamics approach that keeps an eye on bond lengths, angles, and steric exclusions, the Ribosome Builder Project may be an important step in actually modeling a single cell. A program has, in fact, been released by the site’s designer, William Knight, and it can be downloaded from the site. As an open-source project, the software can be expected to grow and improve with time. If you’re a programmer and are interested in modeling living systems, this is a must see.
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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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