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Apr 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 8)

VecScreen

URL:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/VecScreen
  • Large database, nice sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees
  • Users cannot alter search stringency parameters

Vectors (plasmids, cosmids, BACs, etc.) are certainly friends to the researcher—we all use these valuable DNA constructs to clone and manipulate our DNA sequences of interest. But, what happens when (dun, dun, DUN!) vectors turn against us?! OK, so it’s not quite that dramatic, but it is true that vector contamination is a legitimate threat when it comes to sequencing your precious DNA of interest. So how can you be sure that a particular DNA sequence—be it your own or one that you found online—is free from contamination? The NCBI actually offers an online resource for exactly that purpose. VecScreen allows users to input a query sequence (via Accession number, GI, or FASTA sequence) and search it against an extensive database of vector sequences. The search tool subsequently identifies fragments that may be of vector origin.

  • Key:
  • Strong Points
  • Weak Points
  • Ratings:
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good


*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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