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Feb 01, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 3)

VAST Search Home Page

  • Analyses
  • Broken Links
Molecular biological sequence comparisons are at the root of identifying functions of unknown proteins. By identifying homology of an unknown protein (or protein domain) compared to another with a known function, clues to the function of the new protein can be obtained. Besides sequence homology, comparisons of structural homology are also useful to either establish or help confirm function. VAST assists in this process by comparing 3-D structures of PDB files uploaded by users to the Entrez Macromolecular Database (MMDB). Hosted by the NCBI, I found VAST to be a little disappointing. Rarely have I found NCBI sites with many broken links, but I found several on the opening page of VAST. Nevertheless, the analyses are welcome.
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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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