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Jan 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 1)

UCSC Genome Bioinformatics

  • Detailed instructions for each tool
  • Nothing major

If you’re looking for a site with genomes galore, then click over to the Genome Bioinformatics page through the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the left sidebar you’ll be met with a large number of genome analysis tools, ranging from those that are intuitive (such as Genome Browser, which allows you to do just that) to those whose names will make you scratch your head. (Do you have any idea what BLAT or Galaxy might do? No? Well, I’ll let you go hunt down the answers yourself.) There is a tool to view the sequence of any PCR products within a given genome, given your set of primers (in silico PCR), and there is also a “virtual microscope for viewing in situ images” (VisiGene). If you begin to feel overwhelmed, fear not. Each tool is accompanied by a description detailing how to begin your search, as well as a link to the even more comprehensive user’s guide.

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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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